-- I have added the remaining points I wanted to make in this post, and have also posted the information about Al Huda courses. Please read the revisions.
"Those to whom We give the book, recite it as it should be recited, they are the ones who believe." Baqarah: 121
Alhamdulillah I have been Muslim for 2.5 years now, and will readily say that one of the most significant things when I converted was the truth and the miracle of the Qur'an. That it is the same as it was 1400 years ago, its beauty, that it has been unchanged and protected... I thought that I understood the miracle of the Qur'an. After all, I have read the translation numerous times, and its words have spoken to me at various times. Changing the way I live, think, act...
I realize now, I had (and really still have) no idea about the miracle of the Qur'an. I recently enrolled in the Taleem al Qur'an course (Online evening course-- which has 250 students enrolled from all around the world!!!) inshallah to learn the Arabic Meaning, the Tajweed (proper recitiation of the Qur'an) and the Tafseer (the reason of revelation and deep meaning of the Qur'an). I am absolutely BLOWN AWAY. By the end of the first two classes we had spent 8 hours learning about Al Fatihah only. This is 7 verses. 8 hours, for 7 verses! The following two classes we learned Verses 1-5 of Surah Al Baqarah. 8 hours on 5 verses!
As I am learning the Arabic, the roots, the meanings, that the order of the sentences even adds a contextual meaning to the Qur'an, I am beginning to understand the true miracle of this book. I get goosebumps when I think about it. I can't believe I have spent the last 2.5 years, not really understanding the words of Allah.
I want to tell you all this in the hopes that it would encourage all of us as Muslims to strive to understand the Qur'an. This doesn't mean read a translation. It means understand it in the way it was reavealed to our Prophet (SAW). Insallah it will bring a new focus and passion to the way you live Islam, increase your focus in prayer, and earn many good deeds.... May Allah (SWT) make it easy for all of us. Remember He promises to make it easy for us.
"We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember..." Al Qamar:32
Besides Allah (SWT)'s promise to make it easy, we must also consider the obligation on us as Muslims to learn the Qur'an. Not only is this the way Allah is preserving it for us, through the hearts and memories of the Believers, but we must consider how. It has been taught in Arabic, by those who knew the Qur'an from the beginning. Allah (SWT) revealed it to Muhammad (SAW) through Jibreel who thus knew the proper recitation. Muhammad (SAW) then taught it to the Sahaba (those who lived at the time of Muhammad (SAW). They with their proper knowledge taught it to the Taab' ieen (the generation which followed the Sahabah) and so on and so forth. Thus as we can see, the Qur'an should be learned in Arabic, with the proper Tajweed (rules of recitation.) It is easy to see the importance of this elsewhere in the faith, when we realize our 5 daily prayers must be performed in Arabic, and that there is a strong opinion by scholars that any supplication you make in those five daily prayers, must be done in Arabic. We also know that the best du'a were those made by the Prophet (SAW)--- said in Arabic. And lastly, the Qur'an in English is just a translation, and that the only true Qur'an is that in its Arabic form. The Qur'an will either testify for or against us on the day of resurrection. We need to learn it properly in its true form, so it will testify for us. Not only do we need to learn how to recite it but we need to learn its meaning. This is why I strongly encourage everyone to take this course as it covers Word Analysis, Tajweed, and Tafseer. You come out of a lesson inshallah learning how to read the Qur'an properly, understanding not only the meaning in Arabic, but all of the root words within the verses.
"Those to whom We give the Book recite it as it should be recited, they are the ones who believe." Baqarah:121
"Verily, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur'an in order that you may understand." Yusuf:2
The Messenger (SAW) said: "Read it as you were taught, for verily those before you were destroyed by their differing from their Prophets." Saheeh Al Jaami 2/389
Please check out Al Huda Institute-- Taleem Al Qur'an Course 2009. They offer a full time program M-F 9:30-3:30 for the duration of 1.5yrs or the part time evening course W&Th 5:30-9:30pm for the duration of 3yrs. I have also heard about a weekend course they may begin offering. The full time course is offered at Al Huda or Online. The evening course is only online. Those outside of Toronto have no excuse! You can do this from the comfort of your livingroom. alhudapk.com or you can find the same information on farhathashmi.com (the site of Dr Farhat Hashmi you teaches the course. I find this site more easy to navigate.)