There are many spiritual benefits that one can reap out of the study and recitation of Quran. It depends what do you intend to do. Quran itself will not benefit you. You should be able to obtain benefits from the Quran. And I do not have to give you any academic reference or academic evidence, because you can see it in the society today: people are listening to the Quran, they are reading Quran, they are reciting Quran and they don’t seem to obtain any benefits from the parrot-like reading. However, when you recite the Quran with an enlightened heart, you get the benefits. The Divine Light (Noor) which is produced as a result of the recitation of the Quran will enter your heart. And then, in order to understand the Quran, one has to have a Spiritual Guide. Otherwise, you will have no clue what is being recited. You will not have any clue what is going on. You need to have a Spiritual Guide who can tell you the secretive meaning of the Quran.
We have been listening to the Quran for the last 20 days. You must have realised and noticed that a large portion of Quran consists of stories from the history and also a portion of the Quran contains warnings. Examples are given from the history, ‘When that nation did this, we did that to them’. It doesn’t seem to tell you the road map. Having heard all the Quran, one person stands up on his feet and says, ‘Okay God, tell me: where should I start? I know it is you who gives guidance (Hidayah), I understand guidance is given to heart, but how does it happen? I know it is important to have an enlightened heart (Sharha-e-Saddar), but how do I get an enlightened heart? What should I do? How do I bring sincerity in my Salat? How do I have the attributes of a Momin in my character?’
These are some very important questions, but they will come to the mind of a person who wants to become purified, who wants to obtain guidance. A majority of people these days are not seeking God’s love. Although they seem to say they want guidance, but it’s very rare because most of these misguided people claim that they are already guided.
God said, ‘Whosoever submits to God, then God guides his heart.’
وَ مَنۡ یُّؤۡمِنۡۢ بِاللّٰہِ یَہۡدِ قَلۡبَہٗ
But how do we see this verse in practice? For example, I say, 'Whoever will come to me, I will give him £100.' If you want to see that happening in practice, then you should come here. When somebody comes and demands £100, you will see that in practice. In a similar way, ‘وَ مَنۡ یُّؤۡمِنۡۢ بِاللّٰہِ یَہۡدِ قَلۡبَہٗ’, how do we see that in practice? When somebody submits to God, obviously according to the Quran God guides his heart. But how does God guide his heart? What things must be done before one arrives at this point where God will guide his heart? And what exactly does it mean? How? By reciting a Kalima? Having recited the Kalima three times, is it now the point where God is just standing there waiting for you to finish the Kalima, and he will instantly guide your heart? When does it happen? When will God guide the heart? We see a lot of Muslims today in this world, from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia to the UAE, UK, USA, Canada and Australia; everybody seems to do everything that can make you believe they are religious people and good Muslims. They are fasting and observing the sacredness of the holy month, reciting the Quran, growing a beard and many other things.
But there is one question: if they are all Momineen and their hearts are guided, then- obviously we understand they are not holding the rope of God fast. This is why they have diversified themselves in different sects and denominations- If they are not holding fast to the rope of God, then how do we assume their hearts are guided?
God said, ‘All of you, hold fast to the rope of God, and do not make sects, do not make different denominations.’ [3:103]
This question is very important, but the irony is, no Muslim today wants to understand how guidance is dispensed by God. They want to go on and on, and you must let them do what they want to do. They do not want to know they are wrong. People say there are 73 sects. I personally noticed, realised, studied and came up with this conclusion that this is wrong. There are not 73 sects; there are as many sects as there are Muslims. Every single Muslim has fabricated a sect in which his Nafs (Self) can easily fit in and he doesn’t have to go out of his comfort zone. To some people, 5 times Salat is easy but Soum (fasting) is difficult, so they stress more on Salat. They say, 'Salat is important and there is no Soum without Salat'. But, Prophet Mohammad said, 'There is no Salat without an enlightened heart (Qalb).'
When we talk about these things, you may have this understanding or at least this impression that we are talking against Islam. We are not talking against Islam. We are talking against Muslims because they do not represent true Islam. We are the followers of Imam Mehdi Gohar Shahi. We are not against any religion, let alone Islam. We are not against any divine celestial scripture because we strongly believe that all four books were revealed onto the respective prophet and messengers from God. And all four books came from the Loh-e-Mahfouz (Guarded Tablet). So nothing is wrong.
How people understand Quran and Islam today is a really low, ordinary understanding. The Muslims today are not dumb: they are making bombs, they are inventing new measures of mass destruction; they know how to kill people on a larger scale. Obviously, they must be in possession of good scientific knowledge and they have this ability to understand the formulas and chemical equations. They are witty but their intellectual abilities and capabilities are used to defame Islam, to harm humanity and to blaspheme the Messengers of God, the Prophets of God and the final Messiah His Divine Eminence Imam Mehdi Gohar Shahi.
You see, the dilemma is, if you are a very intelligent person you may think you understand everything. But that is wrong. If you are a very learned, a very philosophical and a very discerning man, do not think you have now gained abilities to understand everything including religious books and the Divine Word. According to the Quran, understanding of the Divine Word does not come from the intellect. It comes from your heart when it is enlightened. And the understanding of the religion is gifted to your heart by God. You can understand human beings with your mind and intellect, but in order to understand God and God’s word, the brain doesn’t work. No good man had a good brain. They all became crazy. If you have a good brain, stay out of this. Because a good brain will invent something better in the religion for himself as he might conceive.
I heard it from HDE Gohar Shahi that in the line of love you are not supposed to use your brain. The moment you dip your brain in thoughts, you are gone, you are history. I used to think this is the case of Ishq (Rapturous Love) but then I realised no this is not just for love. This is not just for Divine Love that you are not supposed to think, it’s for the entire religion. It’s for the entire regime of God. You just don’t use your brain, because your brain is not connected to God. It cannot be connected to God. It is your heart which has the potential of getting connected to God. A heart is connected to God, not a mind. We see among our children that some of the children are really slow; the growth of their brain and mind is very slow, and they are not very smart in school.
HDE says, ‘If your brain is not right, you better not go to school. When your heart is not right you will never get to God. If you want to study in school, get your brain fixed. If you want to love God, get your heart fixed.’
If your heart is not fixed, you are in deep waters. You are in really deep trouble. Not just for yourself, but you are jeopardising everybody else in the religion because you are giving them different philosophies and telling them different stories. And every day, you bring out a new meaning of the Quran and fabricate a new school of thought into the religion.
You see in the last 10 days of Ramadan people often seclude themselves in mosques and this temporary seclusion is known as Aitekaaf. Those who observe Aitekaaf are Moutakifh. People do not know why they observe Aitekaaf. The purpose of Aitekaaf is to make sure that you are always there in the mosque, engaged in recitation of the Quran, in contemplating on your Nafs and on commemoration with God, and you are keeping yourself vigilant all day, all night. You are alert at all times during those 10 days so that you must not miss Laila tul Qadar. This is the purpose of Aitekaaf.
Now, for example somebody is coming to England from somewhere. You do not know the flight number, so you decide that all day long you will stay there in the arrivals area at the airport, so that you do not miss the person. But the problem is, if you are blind, whether you stay home or you spend the day in the arrivals area at the airport, you will never see the man. If you have eyes, you can see, obviously. You can go the airport and stay all day long but the problem is you are blind. Even if you go there, you will never see the person even if he is standing in front of you. You will never know he has arrived. Either you are in the world sleeping with your wife, playing with children, spending time with parents, or in the mosque spending 10 days in Salat and Soum - so what? Are you going to get Laila tul Qadar? Your heart is blind. It’s all rubbish. When your heart is blind, you cannot see anything or hear anything. Your ears are barred from listening to the Divine Call. You do not have the power of listening with the help of which you can hear the words of Gabriel, the voice of the Archangels. Your inner eye is not open to see what the normal eyes cannot see. What are you going to get on the 21-29th of Ramadan, which could be Laila tul Qadar? Nothing. What are you going to get out of this practice? Nothing.
اِنَّاۤ اَنۡزَلۡنٰہُ فِیۡ لَیۡلَۃِ الۡقَدۡرِ
That word اَنۡزَلۡنٰہُ (Anzalna 'HU') is not referring to a book, it is referring to a man. Andفِیۡ لَیۡلَۃِ الۡقَدۡرِ , what do you know of the night of power? 'Laila' means night and 'Qadar' means power. God is saying, 'You do not have the intuition to know what Laila tul Qadar really is.'
لَیۡلَۃُ الۡقَدۡرِ ۬ۙ خَیۡرٌ مِّنۡ اَلۡفِ شَہۡرٍ
What will happen if you obtain Laila tul Qadar? To obtain that one night is greater than 1000 months of austerities. In Arabic, شَہۡر means months. There are 12 months in a year and to worship for 1000 months would make you 83 years and 4 months old: an entire lifetime.
Now, God is saying that you do not have the intuition to know what Laila tul Qadar is, but if you have obtained Laila tul Qadar, it is greater than 1000 months of worship and austerities. This night is greater than all other nights in your lifetime. And it was for this night that Prophet Mohammad said to be alert and vigilant for. It is for this night that the Prophet said to leave family, work, everything and spend 10 days in the mosque. But Prophet Mohammad said this when he himself was present. What is left in the mosque now that you are alert and vigilant for?
تَنَزَّلُ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃُ وَ الرُّوۡحُ
The Archangels would come down on that night at Masjid-e-Nabvi where Prophet Mohammad was seated and greet the Prophet first. If the Archangels are coming down, it is obvious they would go to wherever the Prophet is. And because the Prophet would be in the mosque, the people sitting there would obtain the blessings of Laila tul Qadar in the company of the Prophet. Today in Pakistan, people like Tahir ul Qadri are making arrangements for Aitekaaf as big as a city. But what good is it without the company of the Prophet?
Similarly, Gabriel came to visit the Prophet 24,000 times. Even if he brought one verse of the Quran with him, it would not exceed 24,000. Why then did Gabriel come so often to see the Prophet? I asked Gabriel, 'What is the secret behind this?' He said, 'This began after Meraaj (Night of Ascension). After Meraaj, the shower of the Theophanies of God’s Personal Light (Tajjjaliyat, Zaati Noor-e-Qadeem) fell upon and crossed the body of the Prophet. And that Divine Light is our diet. Then I began to visit the Prophet again and again.'
The mosque is still there, but Aitekaaf does not hold the same meaning that it did at the time of the Prophet Mohammad. And now, only those people obtain Laila tul Qadar who are connected to the Sahib-e-Qadar, Imam Mehdi Gohar Shahi. If you have the image of HDE Gohar Shahi on your heart then every moment of your life is Laila tul Qadar. The Sahib-e-Qadar (وَ الرُّوۡحُ), the Soul that comes on that night, which is mentioned in the Deen-e-Ilahi also, is the initial reflection of God (Aks-e-Awal) that belongs to Imam Mehdi in the form of the Tifle Noorie (soul/sub-spirit of God). And if you obtain one moment in His Company (the company of Imam Mehdi), then you have obtained a lifetime of austerities. This night is full of blessing and whosoever obtains Laila tul Qadar, the darkness of Nifaq (hypocrisy) and Kufr (infidelity) is expelled from their personality. This is why it is said that this night is equivalent to a lifetime of austerities. We are the followers of that Soul, the same initial reflection of God. The Tifle Noorie, upon seeing the reflection of which God danced and seven other Tifle Noorie came into existence. We are the followers of the same Soul, whose image in the space is 1150 times greater than the Sun. If you are connected to HDE Gohar Shahi, then you have obtained Laila tul Qadar. You have achieved the purpose of your life.
If Prophet Mohammad had advised someone to recite a particular Surah for a particular purpose, it was for that person alone. For example Prophet Mohammad advised his daughter, Fatima Zahra to recite ‘Alhamdullilah’ 33 times, ‘Subhaan Allah’ 33 times and ‘Allahu Akbar’ 34 times after every prayer. But this advice was for her alone and today we see all Muslims practising this. But what are they obtaining from this? Nothing, because this advice from the Prophet was not for them. It was for Sultan ul Fuqra, the enlightened and purified daughter of the Prophet. Similarly, Baba Farid used to recite ‘Qul Hu Allahu Ahaad’ and the dirt would turn to sugar. But that was his tongue and he was a Saint of God. There are many sacred words and phrases that people are reciting day and night but to no avail. What should they understand? Are these simply stories or is there any reality to them? This is how people have become distant from the religions and from God.
I asked HDE Gohar Shahi about the advice given to certain individuals by the Prophet Mohammad mentioned in the Prophetic Tradition. HDE replied, ‘Those whose hearts and Nafs were purified and were Momineen, only they benefitted from and were given these sacred words and phrases.' Today’s Muslim is neither enlightened nor purified; therefore, when they recite these sacred words and phrases they do not obtain any spiritual benefits. Similarly, Aitekaaf is for those who have enlightened their inner eye and ears to be able to see the Sahib-e-Qadar and hear the voice of Gabriel. People are in great deception. Laila tul Qadar comes once every year. If they have obtained Laila tul Qadar and a lifetime of austerities, why then do they fear punishment in the grave?