al-Hasan al-Basri rahimahullaah said:
“The reciters of Qur’aan are three types. The first type take the Qur’aan as a merchandise by which to earn their bread; the second type uphold its letters and lose its laws, aggrandizing themselves over the people of their country, and seeking gain through it from the rulers. There are many memorizers of Qur’aan that belong to that type. May Allaah not increase them. Finally, the third type have sought the healing of the Qur’aan and placed it on the sickness of their hearts, fleeing with it to their places of prayer, wrapping themselves in it. Those have felt fear and put on the garment of sadness. Those are the ones for whose sake Allaah sends rain and victory over the enemies. By Allaah! That kind of memorizer of Qur’aan is more rare than red sulphur.”
[Fadaa’il al-Qur’aan; al-Qaasim ibn Sallam]
A slightly different version of the above statement is mentioned in Ibn Rajab’s (rahimahullaah) risaalah on Kashful Kurbah fi wasfi haali Ahl-il-Ghurbah:
“The reciters of the Qur’aan are of three types: Those who take it as a commodity and gain their sustenance from it. Those who establish its words, yet neglect its commandments (i.e. read it but don’t practice according to it). Due to (their knowledge of) it, they act arrogantly towards the people of their land and they use it (the Qur’aan) as a support for gaining positions of authority. This type of people from among the bearers of the Qur’aan are many. May Allaah diminish their number! And there is a type who apply the remedy of the Qur’aan and thus place it over the sickness of their hearts. Due to it, their battles come to a standstill and they feel compassionate in their burnooses (long capes worn by the people of old). And they feel a sense of fear (of Allaah) and the worries (of the worldly life) have left them. They are the ones whom Allaah sends His rain down upon and He sends victory through them over the enemies. By Allaah, this type of group from the carriers of the Qur’aan are more honorable than that of flaming torches in the sight of the rest of the reciters of the Qur’aan.“
وبعد ، فحبل الله فينا كتابه *** فجاهد به حبل العدا متحبلا
Thereafter, (know that) the rope of Allaah amongst us is His Book. So (use it) to battle the evil schemes of the enemies (of Islaam), ensnaring them.
وأخلق به إذ ليس يخلق جدة *** جديدا مواليه على الجد مقبلا
And it (the Qur’aan) is most deserving to be used as its grandeur is eternal and it never wears. Its companion (who values it as he should) are honoured and serve it with complete devotion.
وقارئه المرضي قر مثاله *** كالاترج حاليه مريحا وموكلا
The example of its approved reciter is like a citron; in both its conditions (internal & external) being good in aroma and taste.
هو المرتضى أما إذا كان أمة *** ويممه ظل الرزانة قنقلا
He (the reciter) is a noteworthy leader if he comes to hold praiseworthy characteristics, and a shade of honor desires to engulf him in droves.
هو الحر إن كان الحري حواريا *** له بتحريه إلى أن تنبلا
He is free if he is deserving, by becoming a disciple of it (the Qur’aan) through being (in its constant) service until he dies.
وإن كتاب الله أوثق شافع *** وأغني غناء واهبا متفضلا
And the Book of Allaah is indeed the most trusted intercessor and the most valued possession, (constantly) endowing its gifts and virtues.
وخير جليس لا يمل حديثه *** وترداده يزداد فيه تجملا
And it is the best sitting companion whose talk will never bore and whose (frequent) repetition increases it in beauty.
وحيث الفتى يرتاع في ظلماته *** من القبر يلقاه سناً متهللا
And when (the qaari’) is fearful in the darkness of the grave, the Qur’aan will meet him shining brightly, being cheerful and friendly.
هنالك يهنيه مقيلا وروضة *** ومن أجله في ذروة العز يجتلا
There (in the grave) it will congratulate him, becoming a place of rest and a beautiful garden (for him) and because of it (his efforts in serving the Qur’aan) he will be raised to the pinnacle of honor and respect which will be manifest.
يناشد في إرضائه لحبيبه *** وأجدر به سؤلاً إليه موصلا
It (the Qur’aan) will implore Allaah’s satisfaction for its beloved (companion). And what is more suitable to make a request (than the Qur’aan)? For its requests will surely be conveyed.
فيا أيها القاري به متمسكا *** مجلا له في كل حال مبجلا
So, O reciter! Hold firmly onto it, honoring and respecting it in all conditions.
هنيئا مري ئا والداك عليهما *** ملابس أنوار من التاج والحلا
Enjoy well (all coming your way in the gardens of paradise)! Your parents will be adorned with garments of pure light, crowns (of honor) and (other) adornments.
فما ظنكم بالنجل عند جزائه *** أولئك أهل الله والصفوة الملا
So what do you think of the children (of these parents) when they are rewarded? They are the family of Allaah and the high ranking elite.
أولو البر والإحسان والصبر والتقى *** حلاهم بها جاء القران مفصلا
Righteousness, doing good deeds, patience and God-consciousness are their adornment. The Qur’aan came with these attributes, explaining them in detail.
عليك بها ما عشت فيها منافسا *** وبع نفسك الدنيا بأنفاسها العلا
Adopt these qualities as long as you live, striving to obtain it. And exchange (the qualities of) your lowly soul for the valued fragrances of these qualities.
[From the Muqaddimah of ash-Shatibiyyah, transl. by Muhammad Saleem]