In his well-reputed Ihya `Ulum Ad-Din. Imam Al-Ghazali pointed out that a reciter of the Glorious Qur'an attains the highest degree of reading the Glorious Qur'an in case he imagines that he hears it from Allah, Most High, Himself. Degrees of reading the Glorious Qur'an, however, are three:
- a) Reading the Glorious Qur'an while imagining that Allah, Most High, hears the recitation of it: In this case, a recite of the Qur'an imagines that he reads it before Allah, Most High, while He looks at and hears him. The state of such a person is one who calls upon and invokes Allah, Most High.
- b) Reading the Qur'an while imagining that Allah, Most High, sees and converses with him: In this case, a recite of the Qur'an would listen to, glorify, and understand whom he imagines to be conversing with him.
- c) Reading the Qur'an while imagining that Allah, Most High, recites it Himself: In this case, a reciter of the Glorious Qur'an does not see himself or his recitation, and sees that Allah is the One Who says it Himself.
The last is the degree of Al-Muqarrabun (the most favorite people of Allah); the second is the degree of As-hab Al-Yamin (the Companions of the Right Hand); the other is the degree of The heedless people.
Commenting on the highest degree, Ja`far ibn Muhammad As-Sadiq (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "By Allah! Allah appears for His creation in His Words, but they see not."
Once, he fell unconscious while praying and people asked him afterwards about the reason for this, and he declared, "I kept repeating a Qur'anic verse in my heart until I heard it from its Speaker (Most High) and, therefore, I could not keep conscious because of His Might."
In this connection, a righteous man said, "I have not tasted the sweetness of reading the Glorious Qur'an until I read it imagining that the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited it before his Companions; then I read it imagining that Gabriel (peace be upon him) recited it before the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him); then I was gifted with the highest degree, i.e., hearing it from its Speaker, whereupon I tasted the unparalleled sweetness of reading it to the extent that I could not keep away from it."
By the same token, `Uthman and Hudhayfah (may Allah be pleased with them both) said, "When hearts are purified, they will never become bored with reading the Qur'an." Thabit Al-B anani, likewise, said, "I insisted on reading the Qur'an for twenty years, and then I enjoyed reading it for other twenty years."
Whoever sees the Speaker of the Qur'an other than anyone else, will be submitting to Allah's saying,
(Hasten ye then (at once) to Allah: I am from Him a Warner to you, clear and open, And make And another an object of worship with Allah".