Allah, in the name of, the Most Affectionate, the Eternally Merciful.
Different readers and students ask many questions about the “Quranic Studies Program” which are mentioned here. They include the advanced questions asked by the participants who have enrolled themselves into this program.
FAQs before Enrollment
Various readers, after reading the introduction, usually ask the following questions:
Q1: What is the objective of the “Quranic Studies Program?
Answer: The main objective of this program is to provide a resources and a systematic way to the students of Islamic Studies who want to study the discipline of Quranology in depth. In addition to that, we have dedicated ourselves to answer the queries raised related to Quranology.
Q2: The program is for which type of students and what are the conditions for admission?
Answer: The program is designed for the people who are interested in studying the Holy Quran and related disciplines in depth. All interested Muslims and Non-Muslims, regardless of their sectarian association, are highly welcomed in this program. We are committed to respect your viewpoint, even different from ours. We will take care in using expressions related to sensitive issues Insha Allah.
The condition to join this program is your interest. If you are interested, please download the “Registration Form” and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org after its completion. We shall provide you the study material as soon as possible after receiving your form.
Q3: Is the program not designed for specific type of people?
Answer: Yes, the program is not designed for those who are not much interested in reading. If it is difficult for you to read books and heavy volumes scare you, the program is not for you. It is not a weakness as God has not created every person for every task.
As this program involves comparative study of the exegeses wrote by scholars belonging to different schools of thought, therefore, it is essential that you are willing to read a different opinion with an open mind. If you do not like to read anything different and it causes inconvenience in your mind, then the program is not for you.
Q4: What is the fee for this program?
Answer: We do not receive any fees for this program. However, in order to improve commitment level among participants, we advise you to pay a certain amount of fees to poor person in your vicinity. The receipient should not be a professional beggar and you should pay the amount to him/her monthly in a respectful manner. Please mention the amount of fees in your registration form and provide a confirmation in your progress reports.
Q5: What is the minimum amount payable as fees?
Answer: It depends on your income. Pay the amount you can easily contribute from your income directly to a poor person.
Q6: What is the reason behind having a fee for this program? People who cannot afford should do what?
Answer: There are two objectives of having a fees:
(1) To develop habit of spending in Allah’s way in the participants. We want to establish habit in our participants that they share their income with their brothers and sisters who are unable to fulfill even their basic needs. You are depositing this amount in your bank account, and on the Day of Judgment. You will receive exponential return on it from Allah.
(2) Due to payment of fees, many students become regular in their studies and consider it their responsibility to complete the course work after payment of fees.
The participants, who are unable to pay fees, are exempt from it. However, it is highly advisable for them to pay a meager amount in order to build habit of spending in Allah’s way. A buck of a poor spent on charity is much rewardable than thousands spent by rich people.
Q7: Who are the people running this program and to which school of thought do they belong?
Answer: The people running this program do not belong to any particular school of thought. They associate themselves to “Islam” only and do not subscribe to any particular school. They include:
· Dr. Muhammad Aqil: He is a professor in a university in Karachi, Pakistan and spends his extra time in religious missionary activities. His writings are available at www.aqilkhans.wordpress.com.
- Abu Yahya: He also belongs to Karachi, Pakistan and is fully dedicated to missionary activities. He is a prolific writer and his Urdu novel “When the life will begin!!!” is one of the most popular novels in Pakistan.
- Muhammad Mubashir Nazir: He lives in Lahore and his detailed CV is available at this link is available in the same website.
None of them considers himself as a scholar. All of them call themselves as students of religion and share their knowledge with others with an intention to serve others.
Q8: What is the background of current participants enrolled in this program?
Answer: We have participants from diverse backgrounds and ethnic communities. They include students of religious seminaries and modern universities, civil servants, professionals like doctors, engineers and accountants, and businesspersons. The only common element in them is that they are open-minded and use internet frequently for educational purpose.
Q9: Who is financing this program?
Answer: We do not need any financing for running this program as all the required resources are available free of cost on internet. The participants are working with different companies and spend their extra time in religious activities without receiving any remuneration.
Q10: Is this program designed for people belonging to a particular sect or cult?
Answer: No. The program is available to broadminded people of all religions, regardless of their religious or sectarian association. We have included Quranic exegeses of scholars belonging to different schools of thought in order to compare different viewpoints with an open mind. Whether you agree or disagree with us on any issue, it will not affect your participation in this program and we will try our best to respect your viewpoint and take care of your emotions.
Q11: How could I get myself enrolled into this program?
Answer: Download the “Registration Form” and send it to the email address mentioned here after completion. The address is email@example.com. We shall try to send you the material as soon as possible.Registration-Form-ISP
Q12: All the commentaries included in this program are available online. Why should I get admission?
Answer: Enrolling into this program has its own benefits:
· ٓAvailability of additional course material including workbooks. You will be able to organize your studies in a systematic manner.
· Availability of online instructors to answer your questions. You will be able to get answers to your questions as soon as possible.
· Availability of an online group of participants. You will be able to share your experience with each other.
If you do not need these benefits, then you can study the exegeses without enrolling yourselves.
Q13: Why did you select the commentaries of Muhammad Asad, Syed Abul A’ala Mawdudi and Muhammad Hussain Al-Tabatabi to be studied in this program?
Answer: The criteria of inclusion was as follows:
· The commentary should be written for a layman but includes significant discourses of the modern age.
· The commentary is available online.
· The commentary should be neither too long nor too short.
· Language used in the commentary should be easy, polite, meets certain literary standards and avoid negative expressions.
The commentary of Asad represents how does a newly converted Muslim from Europe looks that the Quran. The exegesis of Mawdudi represents the most effective one in the 20th century that produced number of political Islamic movements throughout the globe. The commentary of Tabatabi is included to represent Shi’a perspective in this course.
Q14: Why did you not include all of those commentaries that are available in the Urdu version of this program?
Answer: The major reason for not including all of them is that the English translations of most of them are not available. Secondly, they were included in the Urdu version to study the subtle disputed issues of the Muslims of South Asia, in which an international reader may not be much interested.
Q15: Why should I study exegesis? Is it mandatory to study exegesis in order to understand the Quran?
Answer: If you want to study the Quran at laic level, it is not essential to read its commentaries. You can read any good translation of the Quran and may consult any commentary, if a question arises in your mind. If you are not satisfied by the answer provided in the commentary, you can read another commentary or consult a scholar.
However, if you want to study the meaning of the Quran at an academic and intellectual level, then you must study the exegeses, which discuss the hot issues of the modern age. The reason for using exegesis is as follows:
· Historical and background information about the Surahs and verses of the Quran is available in the books of exegesis.
aThe Quranic exegetes try to provide answers to the common questions arising in mind of readers.
· You can get additional information about the Quranic content by reading a commentary. For example, geographical information about the places mentioned in the Quran and historical information about the nations referred in the Quran is available in the books of exegesis.
· Sometimes, a reader may not properly discern an elusive point but the exegete, an expert in Quranology, draws his attention towards the point.
Q16: Are all commentaries authentic and free from error?
Answer: No. None of the exegetes claim that their commentaries are free from error. They present their books as a human work which is subject to error and criticism. They even present the Quranic verses and their translation in a different format in order to distinguish God’s words with theirs. A commentator is also an ordinary person, not a prophet, and may commit mistakes. He may forget or misunderstand things, be affected by emotions of bias, so his commentaries may include mistakes.
Q17: How could we avoid mistakes of commentators? Is there not even a single authentic commentary free from mistakes?
Answer: We cannot find even a single commentary free from mistakes as all human works are subject to the element of human error. The correct method to avoid mistakes is comparative study of different exegesis. It is highly unlikely that two independent exegetes belonging to different schools of thought may commit the same mistake.
Q18: Is your “Quranic Studies Program” free from mistakes and authentic?
Answer: Not at all. We are not prophets and are subject to error like other persons. May Allah forgive us for our mistakes! We are very open to improve ourselves and humbly request you to inform us about any mistake you find in any of our writings.
Q19: Are various Quranic commentaries completely different from each other?
Answer: No. Scholars and exegetes agree about the meaning of 98% the Quranic words, phrases and sentences. However, they differ on certain points and present their opinions with their line of reasoning. We can select the correct point of view by comparing their arguments.
Contents of various commentaries may be different due to academic orientation, expertise and priorities of different commentators. For example, if an exegete is expert in history, he will provide in-depth historical information. Similarly, if he is proficient in hermeneutics and linguistics, he will give a deep insight into grammatical and linguistic issues. If he has a good knowhow of social sciences, he will provide more details about the sociological issues mentioned in the Quran. Due to this reason, every commentary is unique and carries special importance.
Q20: Am I required to read all three commentaries in this program?
Answer: No. You are required to read only one commentary from cover to cover. It is your choice to select the commentary you like the most. However, you will consult other commentaries when you are asked to do so in your workbook. We have tried to design assignments in a way that you will automatically read all extraordinary works included in each commentary. If you are interested in reading all the commentaries from cover to cover, you can do so.
Q21: Your program sounds too long, too difficult and too boring. Why?
Answer: We have tried our best to keep it as short as possible in order to avoid irksomeness. You can easily complete a lesson in one to two hours. If you are studying for one hour daily, you can complete a lesson in two days. Each module is comprised of 20 lessons at average; therefore, you can complete a module in 30-45 days which is far less than any course work in a college or university.
The program is not complicated. At beginning, you may feel some difficulties due to not understanding the structure of the workbook but once you comprehend the structure, the program will be very easy for you. We have specifically included the commentaries which are written in easy and intelligible way. Support of online instructors will be available to you all the times, in case you feel any difficulty.
We have tried our best to design attractive assignments and covered the most interesting part of each commentary. However, if you still feel it irksome and tedious, it means that you do not have much interest in reading academic works. It is not a personality weakness, as God has not made every person to do every task. In that case, you should read only the plain translation of the Holy Quran and consult a commentary, if a question arises. If you do not like reading, then it is better for you to listen the translation of the Holy Quran which is widely available in audio format on the internet. Download and copy the audio files on an MP4 player or make its CDs. You can listen it during traveling or doing some physical work. In that case, you do not need to join this program.
Your suggestions to improve this program will be highly welcomed.
Q22: I have never read the translation of the Holy Quran. From which module should I start?
Answer: You should start from the Module QS01 which is specifically designed for the beginners.
Q23: I have read the translation of the Holy Quran. From which module should I start?
Answer: You should start from the Module QS02 that is designed for intermediate students. However, if you can glance at the assignments of the Module QS01, you may find them interesting.
If you have already studied 2-3 major commentaries of the Quran, you should directly go for the Module QS07 but it is not available now. We shall try to make it available in a few months.
Q24: I am a doctor / engineer / accountant / lawyer / businessperson by profession. Why should I join this program?
Answer: It depends on your academic interests. If you are interested in getting a deep insight into the meaning of the Quran, this program is specifically intended for you. For professionals like you, it is difficult to join a religious seminary or a university on full time basis. We have launched this program to cater the needs of professional who want to learn by self-study. The program is designed in a way that you can learn from beginner to advanced levels and online instructors are available to help you in finding answers of your questions.
Q25: I am enrolled in a religious seminary and I am a full time student of religion. What is the attraction for me in this program?
Answer: You should compare the syllabus of this program with the one you are studying at the seminary. If you feel that additional knowledge is offered in this program, you are highly welcomed to join us. It is a common practice in religious seminaries to teach some abridged commentaries of middle ages which do not address the issues of modern age. In the area of the Quranic Hermeneutics, their syllabus is not very comprehensive and includes some small books.
The “Quranic Studies Program” carries some benefits for the full time students of religious seminaries. They include the following:
· By studying he commentaries written in the age of modernism and postmodernism, you will get a deep insight into theological, political, social and economic issues of the modern age.
· The expressive style of the modern commentaries is very different from that of old ones. You can observe the differences of modern and mediaeval commentaries that will add diversity to your knowledge level.
· At Module QS07, we shall study the Quranology at very advanced level. It will include the most significant content of the work of great Quranologists like Zarkashi (d. 794H/1391CE), Sayuti (d. 911H/1505CE) and Shah Waliullah (d. 1175H/1762CE).
· A person can comprehend the academic content better if it is taught in his/her native language. We are providing such content in English and Urdu languages which will be helpful for their native students.
We do not claim that our syllabus is an alternative to the one being taught at the religious seminaries. It is rather a supplement to that. If students of religious seminaries study this syllabus along with theirs, they can develop great expertise in the area of Quranology.
If you find that the syllabus at your seminary is more advanced than the one being studied here, please do provide us your suggestions to us in order to improve this program.
Q26: I am a full time student of Islamic Studies at a modern university. Why should I join this program?
Answer: In modern universities, the syllabus of Bachelors and Masters in Islamic Studies is usually modern and comprehensive. However, it generally does not include an in-depth study of Quranology and comparative study of the Quranic commentaries. We shall discuss very advanced issues in the Module QS07 Insha Allah. If you can study this syllabus along with yours, you will get an exhaustive understanding of Quranology.
If you find that the syllabus at your university is more advanced than the one being studied here, please do provide us your suggestions to us in order to improve this program.
Q27: I do not find enough time for studies. Can I still benefit from this program?
Answer: Yes. If you do not have enough time, you can continue your studies at a lower pace. For example, if an average participant completes a lesson in one day, you can complete it in four days. Similarly, if an average participant completes a module in six weeks, you can do so in 24 weeks.
Your circumstances may change over time. If, for instance, you are giving half hour to your studies today, you might be spending two hours in future. Therefore, it is better to continue at the speed you can, as something is always better than nothing.
FAQs after Enrollment
Many participants ask the following questions after enrolment.
Q1: The download links you provided for different commentaries are not working. What to do?
Answer: We provided you two links. If both of them are not working, do the following:
· Try after sometime. Due to some technical issues, respective server may be down but it may start working after some time.
· Search the name of the respective commentary on the internet to find further download links.
· If you are still unable to find the commentary, contact us on the email provided and we shall try our best to provide you the commentary as soon as possible.
Q2: I downloaded a commentary but it is not opening?
Answer: This usually happens when the file is not completely downloaded. Check the size of your file with that given on the respective web page. If the file is not completely downloaded, repeat the download.
Q3: I have enrolled myself in this program. Can I read any commentary of the Quran other than the ones provided by you?
Answer: If you have time, we shall encourage you to do so but please give priority to the ones included in your syllabus as reading them is compulsory. If you have time and you want to get more and more knowledge, then your quest is admirable. As you have already started a systematic study, therefore, we shall advise you to read other commentaries after completing your syllabus.
Q4: A lot of questions are appearing in my mind during studies. What to do?
Answer: Please feel free to send them to us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Kindly include only one question in an email and write an appropriate title in the subject so that we can easily sort and respond to you in minimum time.
Q5: In how much time I will receive your response?
Answer: We try our best to respond all queries in 24 hours. However, if it is delayed due to sickness, traveling, unavailability of internet or some other reason, we apologize in advance.
Q6: How do you manage time along with your job to write on religious issues and answering so quickly to the readers?
Answer: The nature of my job is project oriented and I find enough time to write on religious issues during the intervals between two projects. Moreover, most of the time in my job is spent on following my colleagues up to provide information. I also utilize that time for writing on religious issues. Additional time is also available on weekends.
It does not mean that I am living an imbalanced life. As I receive salary from my employer, therefore, the top most priority for me is my official work. I try my best to not miss any deadline and also try to do my work according to the professional standards. I also spend time with my family in evening and over the weekends, play squash or tennis four times a week and take an eight-hour sleep in the night to keep myself active and healthy. I find enough time in my evenings because I do not watch television. God has given me a little sense of time management, so all these works are easily managed.
Q7: I am not finding enough time for studies. Please suggest some tips.
Answer: The solution is proper time management. If you succeed in that, you will have enough time to do anything. Some tips are as follows:
· We must realize the importance of time. Allah, the Almighty, bless us with 86,400 gold particles (seconds) daily. Each second in our life is equivalent to a gold particle and wasting time on useless activities is similar to throwing gold away in trash. It is upon us to utilize these particles in getting some temporal or spiritual benefit.
· Establish your priorities. Note down the tasks you normally do in a week, prepare a complete list and classify them into necessary and unnecessary tasks. You will be amazed that we spend most of our time on activities that do not bear any fruit in this world or in the afterlife. For example, many people spend their time on watching useless programs on the idiot box (television); many others keep watching news channels that give them no benefit except raising their blood pressure level. Talking on politics, gossiping, browsing useless websites, aimless chatting and even participating in religious programs that add nothing to our knowledge are the activities in which we waste our time. If we minimize (if not eliminate) such activities, we can utilize our time better.
· We waste a lot of time intervals in our life which could be utilized in a better way. For example, we can use the commuting time to our office. If you drive your own car, you can listen an audio file of some academic book on a CD or MP4 player. If you are using public transport, you can utilize that time by reading a book. In your office, the time wasted during waiting for documents etc. from our colleagues can be used better instead of aimless browsing of internet. Businesspersons can use the time when their peak hours are over.
· The tasks, which you can assign to others, should be delegated. For example, if you can afford a servant at your home, do so. It will give you extra time and an unemployed person will find a job. If you cannot afford a servant, you can think about delegating some tasks to your spouse and children without putting extra burden over them.
Q8: I have downloaded all the books but I am confused about the starting point?
Answer: There is no need to be confused. Start with the workbook of the respective module as it contains detailed instructions for using other sources. You should consult other books only when you are asked to do so in the workbook.
Q9: What approach have you adopted in raising our knowledge level?
Answer: The program is divided into three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. The Module QS01 is related to the beginner’s level while the Module QS07 comprises the advanced level. The five modules from QS02 to QS06 are related to intermediate level. Your knowledge level will increase gradually when you will be promoted from one module to another.
Q10: What reading materials do you provide?
Answer: We provide the following reading materials:
· The workbooks for all modules
· An introductory book to the Quranic Studies that should be read during the Module QS02
· An advanced book to Quranology that should be read during the Module QS07.
· Three commentaries that we are studying in the intermediate modules.
Q11: I have a commentary included in this course in printed form. Do I still need to download it?
Answer: No. It is better to read in the printed form.
Q12: I am facing a problem in online studies. When I read on a computer screen, my eyes and head is ached. What is the solution?
Answer: It may be due to two reasons. Either your eyesight is weak or there is no proper illumination at your place of reading. You should consult an ophthalmologist to discuss this issue. If your eyesight is weak, you should buy anti-reflection glasses that will help you in reading. Secondly, you can adjust the light of your monitor and your place of work. If the problem still persists, you should consult an eye specialist. In that case, it is better to avoid reading on the computer. You can print the reading material. Some material is available in the audio format, so you can use your ears instead of eyes.
Q13: It is difficult to download big files of commentaries. What to do?
Answer: If you do not have a DSL internet connection, you can download them in an internet café and copy them in a flash disk.
Q14: Sometimes, due to power interruption, a file is not completely downloaded. What is the solution?
Answer: You can use “Mozilla Firefox” for downloading. It saves partial files and resumes the download when the computer restarts.
Q15: I was busy during last week and did not study. What is your opinion?
Answer: It is part of life but you should spend at least a few minutes even in busy periods in order to maintain the momentum of your studies.
Q16: If I feel irksomeness during studies, what should I do?
Answer: You should stop reading and go for some entertaining activity. Reading in a tiresome manner will impair your interest and motivation in the studies.
Q17: Is there a time limit to complete a module?
Answer: If you are spending one hour daily on your studies, you should be able to complete a module in four to six weeks. If you are spending more or less time daily, the time of completion will be adjusted in an inverse proportion.
Q18: Children disturb me a lot while studying at home. What to do?
Answer: The immediate solution is that you should conduct your studies in a library or a mosque. If possible, you can also stay in your office for an hour after the office time. In the long run, you should develop the habit of reading in your children. Buy them interesting books and create academic interest in them. Try to develop academic environment in your home and you will see that soon they will start realizing that reading is an extremely interesting task.
Q19: I did not find answer of my question in the above-mentioned FAQs. What to do?
Answer: Please feel free to send an email to email@example.com. We shall try our best to respond to you as soon as possible.