APPENDIX 2: Suggested Syllabus Study

APPENDIX 2: Suggested Syllabus Study

Suggested Syllabuses for Quranic Study

Suggesting a syllabus of Qur'an passages for study, individually or in study circles, presents formidable difficulties. Firstly, what to include? An adequate or satisfactory selection is almost impossible, short of the whole Qur'an. Every part of it has something additional or new to say. Even the seemingly repetitive and similar passages have their own insights to offer. A limited number of passages can include only a limited number of themes. Every syllabus will therefore suffer from the serious defect of omitting many more, equally or even more important, themes. Further, any selective approach must be arbitrary, and will reflect only the preferences of the selector, not necessarily of the Qur'an. These limitations are very important to bear in mind while using the syllabuses suggested here: remain conscious that whatever is omitted is equally valuable and that you are being guided by a fallible human being.

Secondly, where to begin, where to end, and in what order to proceed? The only satisfactory order can be the Quranic order itself, as revealed by Allah. But a syllabus cannot avoid changing that order, so can the order be changed and if so on what criteria? Again, that must be arbitrary. Any order can only be one alternative among many equally useful ones. You may proceed by first establishing the status of the Qur'an as Divine, and then introducing the evidence in the universe, self ,and history; faith in Allah, iikhirah, and RiSalah; individual and collective morality; the goal and purpose of Muslim life; the call to Iman and Jihad, and fulfilling commitment and pledge to Allah. Or, one may start from the basic faith. What I have preferred here something which may be changed from situation to situation is to start by reminding the readers of the blessings of Islam, their goal in life, and their pledge to Allah. This is based on my understanding of how Allah addresses 'Muslims-gone-astray' in al-Baqarah 2: 40-7.

Every circle must begin with a discussion of how to read and understand the Qur'an. For this purpose the present book should be helpful.

A special word about Surah al-Fatihah. It occupies a unique place in the Qur'an, containing within it the whole world of its essential meanings. You read it many times every day. This should therefore form part of every syllabus. But a novice will need help a good teacher or tafsir book to derive the necessary benefit from its study. Wherever such help is available, it must be included in the syllabus, even at the cost of dropping one of the suggested passages.

Also of importance are the short Surahs at the end of the Qur'an which you read in your daily Prayers. Again, you will need help for a proper understanding. They should be studied whenever proper resources are available.

Two syllabuses are given here. The shorter syllabus of 12 selections should be useful as a one-year course for study circles, or, for more intensive short duration, say a 12-week or 14-day educational/training course, provided enough time is available for study and preparation, or a teacher is present. It may also be used to devise still shorter, say 5-7 day syllabuses.

With each selection I have given some and remember only some, not all major points which you may reflect upon. Some Quranic references are also given so that you may reflect upon them in their light. These references, too, are by no means exhaustive, and their relevance is based on my own understanding. As you proceed less references are given, for it is hoped that you will become more initiated and familiar by then.

The longer syllabus of 40 selections is intended as a one-year course for weekly study circles.

 

The Shorter Syllabus: 12 Selections

One-year course for monthly circles, or short-duration intensive courses.

1. Surah al-Hajj 22:77-8

Reflect on: life of worship and obedience; culminating and fulfilled in Jihad; centred on the mission of Shahadah; purpose of being Muslim; resources of Salah, Zakah and i'tisam bi'illah (holding fast on to Allah).

1.1 On ruku' and sujud, as acts of worship and obedience; representing Prayers, especially during nights; as states of the heart; and attitudes of conduct; in private and public: 2: 125; 16 49; 2: 43; 76: 26; 39: 9; 77: 48; 5: 55; 96: 19; 9: 112;

1.2 On 'Ibadah, as the purpose of creation; the central message from Allah; total obedience and surrender; pertaining to the whole of life; turning away from all false gods: 51: 56; 16: 36; 21: 25; 4: 36; 39: 11; 40: 66; 12:40.

1.3 On khayr, extending from the heart to each and every part of life: 8: 70; 2: 269; 2: 180; 73: 20; 99: 7.

1.4 On Jihad, and its due: 49: 15; 8: 74; 3: 142; 9: 19-224: 95-6; 61: 11; 9: 41-5; 9:24.

1.5 On being chosen for the mission of Shahadah, and belonging to Ibrahim: 2: 128-9; 2: 143; 6: 161-4; 3: 65-8.

1.6 On Ibrahim's uswah of Tawhid, obedience, and sacrifice: 6: 79; 60: 4; 2: 131.

1.7 On Din, having no hardship: 5: 3-6; 2: 185; 4: 26-8.

1.8 On the mission of Shahadah: 2: 213; 33: 45; 5: 67488; 3: 187; 4: 41; 2: 159-63, 174-6.

1.9 On Salah, its importance; internal and external conditions for its iqdmah: 2: 3; 19: 59; 70: 23, 34; 2: 238; 4: 102-3; 2: 239; 29: 45; 7: 29; 23: 2; 4: 43; 17: 78; 4: 142; 2: 43; 7: 31; 62: 9-11; 19: 55; 107: 1-7; 22:41.

1.10 On Zakah, its importance and spirit: 41: 6-7; 9: 5; 30: 39; 9: 103.

1.11 On i'tisam bi'llah: 3: 101; 31: 22; 26: 7742.

 

2. Surah al-Baqarah 2:40-7

Reflect on: remembering the blessing of guidance, and others; fulfilling the pledge to Allah ('ahd); renewal of Iman; bartering away Allah's message for trifling gains; overlaying and distorting truth with falsehood; concealing the truth; Salah; Zakah; collective life in Prayer; and outside; hypocrisy and duplicity; sabr and Salah as the moral resources; faith in meeting Allah, when nothing will avail, as their basis.

2.1 On ni'mah in guidance; in nature; in history: 5: 3; 2: 150; 5: 7; 16: 18; 3: 103; 8: 26; 5: 20.

2.2 On 'ahd: 9: 111; 48: 8-10; 7: 172; 36: 60; 33: 21-4; 5: 12-13; 3: 76-7.

2.3 On Allah's part of bargain, in this world and the Hereafter, see additionally: 3: 139; 24: 55; 5: 66; 4: 66-9.

2.4 On summons to the renewal of Iman: 4: 136-9; 57:

2.5 On bartering Iman away for worldly gains: 5: 44; 2: 174-6.

2.6 On overlaying and confounding the truth with falsehood, in beliefs and practices: 2: 75, 78, 79, 80, 85, 91, 94, 102, 111, 113; 5: 18.

2.7 On concealing the truth: 2: 157-63; 174-6.

2.8 On the emphasis on praying, and therefore living wholly, with Jama'ah; congregational prayer in masjid as the microcosm of Islamic Jama'ah: 18: 28; 9: 16-17; 24: 362114; 9: 107-8.

2.9 On discrepancy between words and deeds, especially in da'wah: 61: 2-3; 63: 1-4.

2.10 On sabr and Salah as essential resources for fulfilling commitment to Allah: 2: 153-7; 41: 35; 46: 35; 7: 137; 8: 46; 3: 125; 8: 65-6.

2.11 On awareness and certainty of returning to Allah and meeting Allah as the basis of sabr and Salah: 52: 48.

3. Surah al-Muzzammil 73: 1-10 and 20

Reflect on (i'tisam bi'llah through) Qur'an reading in night Prayers, dhikr, tabattul, tawakkul, sabr, Salah, Zakah; infaq, istighfar.

3.1 On qiyamu 'l-layl: 32: 15-16; 39: 9-23; 51: 15-19; 17: 78-82.

3.2 On tasbih during the day as da'wah: 20: 24-33.

3.3 On dhikr as the key to tazkiyyah, all the time, in varied forms, by heart, tongue, body, deeds, da'wah, Jihad: 87: 15; 3: 191; 13: 28; 39: 22-3; 62: 9; 2: 150-5.

3.4 On tawakkul, as a key inner resource, based on Tawhid; its spirit and need: 8: 2-4; 65: 3; 11: 123; 12: 67; 25: 58; 14: i2.

3.5 On various forms of yaqulun, which require sabr: 34: 8; 21: 5; 25: 4-5, 7; 68: 8-15; 17: 90-3; 10: 15; 17: 73.

3.6 On qard hasanah, and spending in the way of Allah (infaq): 57: 11-16; 92: 18-21; 23: 60; 2: 264-74; 3: 92; 4: 38; 57: 10; 63: 11; 35: 29.

3.7 On istighfar as central to Allah's message, watching, scrutiny, accountability, regretting, turning back, rewards in this-world and that-world: 4: 110; 3: 15-17; 3: 133-6; 3: 146-8; 71: 7-12; 39: 53; 64: 17.

4. Surah al-Hadid 57: 1-7

Reflect on: everything glorifying Allah; to Him belongs kingship; power to give life and death; power over everything; knowledge of everything; sovereignty and rule; over time; knowledge of what lies in hearts; summons to Iman and infaq in this context.

4.1 On Allahs attributes: 22: 18; 17: 44; 10: 31-6; 6: 59-61; 3: 154; 28: 70-2; 2: 255; 59: 22-4; 3: 25-6.

 

5. Surah al-Nahl 16: 1-22

Reflect on: evidence in the universe and self for Tawhid, Akhirah and Risalah: purposeful creation; of heavens and earth; of man; of animals; sending down of water; growing of crops; night and day; sun, moon and stars; diversity in colours; food and wealth from oceans; guidance through stars.

5.1 On evidence, in similar passages: 30: 17-27; 27: 59-68; 10: 1-10, 31-6.

 

6. Surah Ya Sin 36: 50-65

Reflect on various stages of journey beyond life: coming of death and the last hour; resurrection; reckoning; judgement; reward; punishment.

6.1 On Akhirah: 50: 16-35;75:20-30;18:47-9;20: 100-12; 22: 1-7; 23: 99-118; 43: 66-80; 44: 40-59; 51: 1-27.

 

7. Surah al-Hadid 57: 20-5

Reflect on: nature and the reality of present life; preparedness to give life and money; for helping Allah and His Messenger; through power; employed to establish justice among men.

7.1 On the present life and the life to come: 3: 14-15, 185: 10: 24; 18: 45; 4: 134; 17: 18-19; 42: 19-20.

7.2 On establishing justice and equity: 4: 135; 61: 9-14.

 

8. Surah al-'Ankabut 28: 1-10

Reflect on: the essentiality of trials and tribulations to test Iman, and to bring success.

8.1 See 2: 155; 2: 214; 3: 140-2, 179; 47: 29-31.

 

9. Surah al-Anfal 8: 72-5

Reflect on the inherent and crucial link between Iman and Hijrah, Jihad, and helping Allah's cause; essentiality of collectivity for Jihad.

 

10. Surah al-Tawbah 9: 19-24

Reflect on: Iman and Jihad, together, as the highest acts; and sacrificing everything relatives, wealth, career and business, houses for the love of Allah, His Messenger, and Jihad in His way.

 

11. Surah al-Nur 24: 47-52 and 62-4

Reflect on: obedience and response to the Messenger as the basis of collective life established to fulfil Allah's mission.

11.1 See 8: 20-8; 49: 1-5; 58: 11-13; 9: 42-57, 62-6, 81-2; 62: 9-11.

 

12. Surah Al 'Imran 3: 190-200

A comprehensive summary: evidence for Allah, Akhirah and Risalah in the creation of heavens and earth and alternation of day and night; living a life ever-remembering Allah; Hereafter is the goal; trust and faith in the Messenger; the implications of faith struggle and tribulations; guidelines for collective life.

It has been assumed that the above syllabus will be studied as part of a larger course, and hence nothing is included on the individual and collective attributes of a Muslim's life. If not, then it would be useful to take up additionally (a) al-Isra' 17: 23-39 (in conjunction with al-Furqan 25: 63-77 and Luqman 31: 12-19 and (b) al-Hujurat 49: 10-14.

 

The Longer Syllabus: 40 Selections

One-year course for weekly study circles

1. al-Hajj 22: 77 Life of worship; Jihad, mission of Shahadah.

2. al-Tawbah 9: 111-1 Pledge of Iman, life of worship.

3. al-Nisa' 4: 131- Witnessing to justice, summons to Iman.

4. Al 'Imran 3: 102-10 Purpose of Ummah.

5. al-Fath 48:8-1 Pledge to continue Prophets mission.

6. al-Baqarah 2: 40-6 Call to fulfill the pledge

7. al-Muzzammil 73: 1-10, 20 Building a relationship with Allah

8. al-Isra ' 17: 23-39 Individual and Collective Morality

9. al-Nahl 16: 1-11 Evidence for Tawhid, Risalah and Akhirah

10. al-Nahl 16: 12-22 Evidence for Tawhid, Risalah and Akhirah

11. Yunus 10: 31-6 Evidence for Tawhid and Guidance

12. al-Hajj 22: 1-7 Evidence for Akhirah

13. Qaf 50:1-1 Evidence for Akhirah

14. al-Mu'minun 23:99-118 Akhirah

15. Ya Sin 36: 50-6 Akhirah

16. Qaf 50: 19-35 Akirah

17. al-Zumar 39: 53-66 Preparing for Akhirah

18. al-Hashr 59: 18-24 Preparing for Akhirah, Allah's attributes

19. al-Hadid 57: 1-7 Allah's attributes, summons to Iman and infaq

20. al-Hadid 57: 12-1 Iman and infaq

21. al-Hadid 57: 20-5 Present life, infaq and justice

22. al-Saff 61: 9-14 Call to commit to the Prophet's mission, Iman and Jihad

23. al-'Ankabut 29: 1-11 Testing of faith

24. al-Anfal 8: 72-5 Iman, Hijrah, Jihad and Jama'ah

25. al-Nisa' 4: 95-100 Hijrah. Jihad

26. al-Tawbah 9: 19-24 Jihad. the highest act, sacrifice everything

27. al-Tawbah 9:38-45 Jihad

28. Al 'Imran 3: 169-75 Dying in the way of Allah

29. al-Baqarah 2: 261-6 Infaq fi Sabilili 'llah

30. al-Baqarah 2: 267-72 Infaq fi Sabilili 'llah

31. al-Anfal 8: 20-9 Collective life, obedience

32. al-Nisa' 4: 60-7 Collective life, obedience

33. al-Nur 24: 47-52, 62-4 Collective life: response and obedience

34. al-Hujurat 49: 1-9 Collective life: relationship with leaders

35. al-Mujadalah 58: 7-13 Collective life: rules and duties

36. al-Hujurat 49: 10-15 Collective life: interpersonal relations

37. Fussilat 41: 304 Dawah and the attributes

38. al-Baqarah 2:15043 Mission and its obligations

39. Al 'Imran 3:185-92 Summary

40. Al 'Imran 3:193-200 Summary

Only 40 selections have been given for 52 weeks, allowing for the fact that some weeks will have to be taken off and some selections may take more than a week to study.

However, if time is available, it may be devoted to the study of passages on history in the Qur'an a theme which I have not included here. In this respect I would suggest taking up one prophet each week, such as Nuh or Hud, basing the study on one passage in Surah al-A'raf, but also referring to other relevant places in the Qur'an.

  1. al-A'raf 7: 59 64
  2. al-A'raf 7: 65-72
  3. al-A'raf 7: 73-9
  4. al-A'raf 7: 804
  5. al-A'raf 7: 85-93
  6. al-A'raf 7: 9-102
  7. Hud 11:11-23.