Many people find it difficult to read and understand the Quran. Sequential reading, that is, reading page after page, and reading in a quick manner is a barrier to understanding for most people. The ayas in the Quran were revealed over twenty three years, one or two or just a few at a time. Each has a unique insight which can be accessed if we explore its message in depth, one at a time.
Our study circle presents a new and effective way of learning from the wisdom of the Quran. We take one or two ayas and discuss them as a group for about two hours. The aim is to discover the practical wisdom which each of us can use to make our lives better.
Because each person has a unique life experience, a phrase of wisdom often pulls a different string in each of us. And when we share our individual perspectives with each other, a greater range of meaning becomes available to us. As we continue this practice week after week, everyone’s perspective expands. You find new and better answers to your life’s problems. Those who have participated consistently for several months or years have experienced significant personal and spiritual growth.
Each session begins by reading the commentary on an aya given in ‘The Quran and the Life of Excellence’ by Sultan Abdulhameed. The commentaries in this book grew out of these discussions. They describe methods of personal change taught in the Quran and how they can be applied to enrich our personal, social and spiritual lives. The reading is done twice to allow for greater focusing of attention.
The study circle can be based on another Quran commentary that the participants find inspiring and instructive.
The reading is followed by an open discussion among the participants. Everyone can express his or her understanding of what the teaching in the aya is and how it can be used.
Experience shows that following a few simple rules makes our meetings spiritually rewarding:
- A person should be designated as the Moderator.
- Each person’s viewpoint is to be respected. The purpose for each of us is to seek our own growth rather than to convert others to our point of view.
- Everyone is encouraged to speak, but we do not argue with each other because a harmonious environment is essential for spiritual growth.
- No statement is out of bound, because honesty is the basis for learning.
- One and a half to two hours is the optimal time for the discussion. There can be intervals of silence during the discussion when everyone is thinking. Participants need not be disturbed by prolonged silences but continue for the whole duration.
- A group of up to 15 people is optimum; if more people are present it is better to split into two groups.
How to start in your community
You can start a study circle where you are. You need a few people who are looking to find personal meaning from the Quran and who value open discussion. It is very useful to have both men and women participants because the different perspectives add to the richness of the discussion.
It is important to meet at the designated time regularly and follow the guidelines given above for the study circle to be productive and grow.
Please contact us for suggestions and help if you wish to start a study circle.
Current Study Circles
At this time we have study circles based on The Quran and the Life of Excellence at:
Brookville, New York: 2:30-4:00 pm each Sunday
New York City: 7:15 to 9 pm, 1st and 3rd Monday each month
Islamic Center of Southern California, Los Angeles, Quran Study in English, On Sundays once a month 3:00-5:00 pm