Nothing is more pleasing to a farmer than his field at the time of the harvest. Now, he can enjoy fruits of his labor. But, he has to pay his debt first. He had incurred it for petty things. Now it sums up to a huge amount! Unwillingly, he has to pay the price for those little things with his hard-earned rich harvest. No matter how hard he tries, he falls into the tarps of debt due to his weaknesses, haste, and ignorance. Sometimes his harvest is poor. Yet, no mercy is shown to him when the debt is collected. Well, the creditors have their right too. Repayment is the right thing to do. The poor farmer could do nothing to save his harvest.
He learns about a scheme to save himself from a year’s debt. All he had to do is abstain himself from things which get him into debt for a couple of specified days! By doing this his debt will be forgiven. He has nothing to lose. It is not compulsory for him to participate in this scheme. If you are the farmer, would you participate in such a scheme? Who wouldn’t? This scheme is just too good to ignore. Only a fool would ignore it.
Interestingly, Success is called ‘Falah’ in Arabic. Falah also means Farmer! Aren’t we farmers cultivating Righteous deeds for Hereafter? In spite of our best efforts unknowingly and unintentionally we commit sins. These are our debts and we have to pay back with our good deeds. We have no idea how much debt we have incurred. Nor do we know, how much good we have accumulated. We could only get this answer on day judgement. Then it’s too late to save our deeds. What can we do?
Alhumdhlillah. Our Most Merciful creator also gives us chance to save our self from such debts! Well here is one appealing scheme-
What comes to your mind when you think of bliss? Cozy Home? Company of your loved ones? Yes, I can almost see you smile as you think about your beloved parents, spouse, children, and friends. Who is the apple of your eye? What wouldn’t you do to see him/her happy? I know, the whole world means nothing to us when it comes to our beloved.
For most of us, the most loving person is our mother; the person who deserves most respect is our father; the people whom we stand by are our siblings; the greatest people on earth are our like-minded friends; and, our children are most innocent beings! They are the apple of our eyes. They make our little world.We do everything to add color to it. Of course, this doesn’t mean we are rude to others. We are on our best behavior to those around us. But all this could change!
A few months back, when I and my darling seven-year-old son were attempting to memorize verses from Quran, we came across the verses which made us realize the world could be insufficient! Every valuable thing would mean absolutely nothing to us! We wouldn’t be bothered about our dear ones when it comes to SAVING OURSELVES.
Are you wondering what am I speaking about? See for yourself what the verses from Surah Ma’arij (Chapter 70 – Quran) state:
They will be shown each other. The criminal will wish that he could be ransomed from the punishment of that Day by his children
And his wife and his brother
And his nearest kindred who shelter him
And whoever is on earth entirely [so] then it could save him.
No! Indeed, it is the Flame [of Hell],
(verses 11 to 15)
The punishment of the Day of Reckoning would be so unbearable that we will try saving ourselves at any cost. Even, if it meant exchanging our place for every being on the Earth! Strangely, here we are ready to commit a sin to please our dear ones or acquire little gain. Even if we are kings and queens ruling the entire world, our kingdom, our royal family and loyal subjects couldn’t save us from the consequences of our sins! What kind of richness are we longing for?
My son was visibly surprised and worried to read the verses. He wondered who will face such a fate. The next few verses portrayed a picture of a disobedient hoarder of wealth. The one who is impatient during adversity and selfish when he is blessed with wealth.
Now like me and you, my son questioned – how can we save ourselves? I read ahead to learn that those who pray (establish prayer) will be safe. Verses that follow explain in detail what such people do:
Those who are constant in their prayer (Verse 23)
And those within whose wealth is a known right For the petitioner (one who asks/begs) and the deprived (Verses 24 and 25)
And those who believe in the Day of Recompense (Verse 26)
And those who are fearful of the punishment of their Lord (Verse 27)
And those who guard their chastity. (Verse 29)
And those who are to their trusts and promises attentive (Verse 32)
And those who are in their testimonies upright (Verse 33)
And those who [carefully] maintain their prayer (Verse 34)
They will be in gardens, honored. (Verse 35)
My son desires to be like the people mentioned above. May Allah make us amidst Musaleen (Those who establish prayer) – Ameen.
I have read this surah and its meaning earlier too.But when I read it with an intention to memorize it, it shook me from within. How carelessly had I scanned through this chapter without pondering upon the weight of the events mentioned in it! At the same time, I couldn’t stop admiring the sequence of the verses – how each verse led to another; how the chapter warned us and showed us a way to escape from Hell. Subahan Allah (Exalted be Allah)
How wretched will be the state of the person who hasn’t bothered to open and understand Quran? May Allah make it easy for us to learn and understand Quran. May we give Quran its due right by practicing what we learn. May we and our loved ones be amidst those in Jannah (paradise). Ameen.
I have not explained the entire chapter here. I have just included the verses which I partly explained my son. Nothing is holding you back from reading the Tafsir (explanation) of this chapter. Go Ahead. Perhaps, you can enlighten us with what you learn.
In the month of Ramadan as I was reading through Quran, this verse from Surah Rad reminded me Surah Ma’arij again:
For those who have responded to their Lord is the best [reward], but those who did not respond to Him – IF THEY HAD ALL THAT IS IN THE EARTH ENTIRELY AND THE LIKE OF IT WITH IT, THEY WOULD [attempt to] RANSOM THEMSELVES THEREBY. Those will have the worst account, and their refuge is Hell, and wretched is the resting place. (Chapter 13; Verse 18)
Even if we have one more world just like this one in our possession, IT CANNOT SAVE US FROM THE HELL FIRE! What good are the wealth and the comfort if we fail to recognize ourselves as His slaves? Is it really worth disobeying Lord for some useless material gain?
We cannot reserve a spot in Heaven in exchange for this world.
Written by: Ayesha Desai
“Jasmine in the wind” is the first published book by Ayesha Desai, she has been writing for the last 20 years and blogging since 2013.
The story is about Afrah, a Syrian girl. She is introduced as a tired girl in worn out sandals trying to reach a safe-land along with her family. As she travels, she recollects her past – HER LIFE IN SYRIA. Her thoughts portray current Syrian situation and its beauty prior to the political unrest. In last, few pages we see her and her family getting accustomed to the country they find refuge in. Yet, in her heart, her love for her home hasn’t diminished. She is waiting to return home when it is better. Isn’t Al-Sham (Syria) the blessed land?
I absolutely loved the concept. I wept as I read through the last few pages. This for me is a story of hope amidst the darkness. It shouted out life and struggles of refugees worldwide. It is a sad reminder of hard times we live in.
I found it bit difficult to comprehend as the story drifts between past and present. Still, I would strongly recommend this book.
Written by: Nayera Salam – a retired teacher more than thirty years teaching experience.
Illustrator: Teresa Abboud – A very talented illustrator/ 2D animator.
I had received this book for the purpose of review a few months back. As the name suggests, the main characters in this book are Matt, an orange cat, and Mille, a gray mouse. The rhythmic language and colorful illustration made it more than a just another cat and mouse story.
I read this book in a gathering of four children (my sons, niece, and nephew). They absolutely loved the book and asked me to read it to them over and over again. I loved seeing the excitement on their face as they wondered whether the cat will spare the mouse.
My little one was more attracted to pictures than the story. I asked the children to pick a favorite picture. They unanimously selected the picture where Millie the mouse pleads to Matt to spare her life for the sake of five little baby mice. The picture of little mice tucked under socks is adorable.
The book teaches the importance of showing kindness. If interested you may purchase the book from http://www.kidsbooksbynayera.com/buy
It’s fun being invited. My expectations run high as I almost starve myself for the feast that I would relish at my friend’s home. I wonder who else will I be meeting there?Do you like being invited? What are your expectations from your host? More than anything else it’s the warm welcome which makes the difference.With that everything else seems perfect.
And then there are gatherings where only those with invitation card are allowed to enter. Oh dear! I wonder where I kept the invitation from my son’s school event.Even in such a gathering, there is a very special reception for the guest of honor. As we stand in a queue waiting for our turn to enter, we see few well deserved honored members of the society walk right past us. It’s their work and position that has earned them this honorable reception. Nothing special comes cheap!
There is an open invitation for Jannah (Paradise) from our the Almighty for all of us. So, what do we need to enter it? Monotheism (There is no god but Allah and Muhammed (ﷺ) is his messenger).An easy way to enter (and obtain high levels in) Jannah is not going to be for free. Are you willing to earn a special place in Jannah? Which special deed are you willing to take to get close to Him?
We have just experienced the sweetness of fasting in the month of Ramadan. Alhamdulillah. How we wish that we could experience this serenity throughout the year. Don’t let this feeling fade away. Make fasting as a means to get close to Allah. Insha Allah, we will enter Jannah from the gate ‘Al Rayyan’.
Ah! There is more to fasting than just a red-carpet welcome. The Most Gracious Allah rewards those who fast without limits. Indeed, there could hardly be a better way to please Him.
Ramadan has shown us, that fasting is easy. Alhamdulillah. Are you missing Ramadan? If only we could do more. Allah SWT has given us a chance to earn the reward of fasting!!
Having fasted complete month of Ramadan, would you let such an opportunity slip away? Hurry up, just a few days of this blessed month are left. Remember, to reap this reward you should have completed the missed fasts of Ramadan too.
Do not lose heart, if you are incapable of doing this. Most Merciful has provided us more ways to achieve a huge reward. Soon blessed days of Dhul Hijjah would be here. Not all of us will be able to perform Haj this year. Those of us who stay back could still get our (minor) sins forgiven by fasting on the day of Arafah (9th of Dhul hijjah). Besides, nothing is holding us back from making most of first nine days of Dhul hijjah by fasting.
Alhamdulillah. We can’t thank Allah enough for providing us with such an opportunity to cleanse ourselves. Yet again, A month later The Most Beneficent again gives us an opportunity to expiate the sins of a year by fasting on the Day of Ashura (10th of Muharram). You can read about this in the post, A Scheme for Success. Indeed, Allah SWT is most forgiving and He loves to forgive. Subahan Allah.
We all claim that we love our prophet (ﷺ). So, how do we express our love? We are to follow his sunnah (way of life). Unfortunately, we celebrate our prophet’s birth in a way which is far from Sunnah. Let us see, what our prophet (ﷺ) in recognition of being blessed with life. Far from the current view of celebration, he (ﷺ) fasted on the day (of the week) he was born. Could we do the same to claim our love for him? He also preferred fasting on Thursdays. Why? When presenting a gift to our loved ones we care to perfume it and wrap it well. Our beloved prophet (ﷺ) cared more about presenting his deeds well to The One, who had blessed us with everything. He (ﷺ) preferred to fast on the day the deeds are presented before Allah. SubhanAllah. This makes me wonder, on what basis do I and you claim that we love Allah and His Messenger? I hope to practice these fasts. Are you interested too?
Some of us find it very difficult to fast every week. There is another lovely option for those who love to fast! We are encouraged to fast on any three days of every month. Remember every good act has a minimum reward of ten hasanat (good deeds). Fasting like this will be equivalent to fasting for the entire month (and for an entire year if it is done every month).
Fasting has spiritual and worldly benefits too. In the current era, where we are being bombarded with lewd adds and shows/programs, fasting acts as a shield improving our self-control. Insha Allah, this would help teens and youth lead a modest life. Would you encourage those around you to fast?
It is worth noting that other than Ramadan it is not obligatory for us to fast on any other day. We people are wise enough to make smart choices when it comes to purchasing and selling things. We wait for a sale and make most of it. Likewise, are we wise enough to make most of these days? Invitation to heaven is open. Couldn’t we learn to refrain a little for eternal pleasure in Jannah?Would you like this ticket for Jannah? It’s your choice.
May Allah make us among those who can choose to enter from any of the eight doors of Jannah. Ameen.
We are facing the last 10 days of Ramadan. Insha this post will help us concentrate better in Ibadah.
Last Ramadan, I had a special challenge. It was helping my son who is nearly 7 years old fast! He attempted to fast on 21st of Ramadan. Keeping him distracted during hunger was my biggest task. Phew. I had decided if he wouldn’t get distracted, he could break his fast. He enjoyed listening to stories, painting and playing with his younger brother. Then he had a good nap. But last few minutes were the toughest part of the fast for him. Seeing the food arranged on the table, he didn’t want to wait for his meal. Thankfully, he understood he didn’t have to wait for long. He kept looking at his pancakes. You should have seen his smile on hearing the Azan.Alhamdhulillah.Do you think I should have just let him eat five minutes before Magrib athan? No way.
We grownups, unconsciously, behave just like children. Well, even before Ramadan ends we start planning for Eid. Eid is the times for the family get together. So, we start worrying about home decorations and accessories for the clothes.Don’t we have to look perfect on the day of celebration? Hence, we fix appointment at the parlor and pamper ourselves from head to toe. (Even if it includes acts of disobeying Allah!) Are these our main concerns these days? Are the last days of this month meant to be spent away from Quran in markets and spas? Having disciplined ourselves this month, is this how we would like to end this month?!
Ramadan is back here. Has a year flown away so soon? We haven’t really retrieved from the excitement of last Eid and Ramadan has knocked our doors again. We have ensured we have done our best to welcome this month. Our Homes are shining; Our freezers are full of frozen snacks to fry; We have even purchased our Eid clothes. Insha Allah, our time will be well spent in Ibada. Our Dua(invocation) books are out and we are determined to spend most of our time with Quran; we will try our best to read Quran at least once. After all, this has been our standard procedure all our life. Great! We are at bliss. Are we? Now let us see our Ramadan routine in a new light.
ARE OUR HOMES WELCOMING?
Are our homes welcoming enough for the angels? Of course, the house has been dusted and arranged. Check again, is there anything in the house which would keep angels away? Why wouldn’t angels of mercy enter our home, when we have ensured that our home even smells great?!! WELL, ARE OUR WALLS FREE OF FAMILY PHOTOS?
Is a photo in your living room meant to honor a predecessor? Or, do you proudly display the photo of your child receiving a trophy? Indeed, the elders need to be honored and the youngster’s achievement is worth being applauded. But, we don’t need a framed photo to prove our love for them. Our love for Allah is much stronger and with all the devils locked it should be much easier to obey Him. Let us remove the photos and ensure that our home is welcoming enough for the angels.
SERVE IT RIGHT
It’s the first day of Ramadan, and kids are already speaking of goodies they would get to eat in iftar. Most of us have loaded our freezer with partly cooked snacks. Moms are wondering whether to defrost kabab, samosas or spring rolls. We have taken all this pain to ensure that our family gets to eat tasty food while we don’t waste our valuable time in a kitchen. Well, have we also ensured that our deeds are being presented before Allah?! Are we in good terms with our extended family and friends? If you are in doubt, without delay connect to your loved ones. Please click here to read more about this.
LET US MAKE THIS RAMADAN THE BEST RAMADAN!
We all love the month of Ramadan. We love the fasting, reciting Quran and standing in tarawih salah. How we wish that we can feel this closeness to Allah all our life. Yet, after Ramadan, we slowly slip back being our usual self. Months of Ramadan come and go, with hardly any impact on our life. Why aren’t we able to hold on to something from our experience in Ramadan? How did you feel, when you first fasted for an entire month? Alhamdulillah. How did you feel on completing the recitation of the Quran for the first time? Are there any more memories which would make a Ramadan stand out?
LIVING THROUGH THE MONTH OF RAMADAN IS A HUGE BLESSING. Every Ramadan in our life counts. Perhaps, it’s time we push ourselves to do a little more. Look at Ramadan as an opportunity to change our life for better. It’s time to elevate our Rank in heaven.
Dear friends, I would like to share with you something which made me very happy!! For me, it is an achievement too good to be true! This happened a year ago. Yet, I can’t cease being pleased about it. My son, who was then just a six-year-old had memorized 30th para (last part) of Quran! Allahu Akbar. But there is more to be happy about. With him, his thirty plus years old mommy (me) memorized Juzz Amma too!!!! Alhamdhulillah. And we did it ourselves by the grace of Allah. If you see my journey, you would understand the reason behind my uncontainable happiness.
I had been childless for the first few years after marriage. This is when I took up a course to study tafsir (explanation) of Quran. Like any other infertile Muslimah, I recited invocations of Zakkariya (PBUH).
Quran clearly showed the state at which Zakkariya (PBUH) asked Allah for a child. It was more than a mere desire. Zakkariya (PBUH) was an old man with a barren wife. This is when he prayed for a child! His humble plea showed the prophet’s Tawakul (Trust) in Allah. He wasn’t unhappy with Allah’s decree. There a strong reason for his request. HE WANTED SOMEONE WORTHY TO INHERIT HIS PROPHETHOOD! Subahan Allah.
I had no idea what had Allah decreed for me. As I read the above verses, I wondered why did I want to be a mom? I realized being a parent is a huge responsibility. We parents work hard to provide the best nourishment for our child. We spend a fortune on our little one’s education. Are we ensuring that they are brought up on the way of Islam? Do we instill the love of Quran in our child’s heart? How can we show our gratitude to Allah for being blessed with a child? We could learn from the attitude of Zakkariya (PBUH) on being blessed with a child.
We are to raise our children as believers adhering to Allah’s command. Inspired by the narration in Quran, I prayed for a child with whom I could worship Allah with ease; a child who would be a means of sadaqa jariya (who becomes a reason for increase in my good deeds after the parent’s death). I resolved that If Allah blesses me with a child I would encourage him/her to memorize Quran. For the majority of my life, I had only uttered surat ul Fatiha and surat ul Ikhlas in my Salah! And, with no hafiz-a-Quran as far as I know in my lineage, this indeed is a very heavy resolution.
Alhamdulillah. The Most Merciful Allah soon blessed me with a son. When Zakir was less than three years old I attempted memorizing surat un Naba from a popular website. A group of ladies repeated the teacher as she recited the verses. I tried reciting the memorized verses at the end of the session. Whenever I stumbled my little innocent baby would help me!! I was stunned. The truth is every toddler would readily learn things which are repeated to them. Don’t we teach our children poems?
When my son was ready for a nursery, I wanted the best of the teachers to teach Quran to my son. Either he was dismissed as too young or the institute was too far away. The teachers who were willing to teach him at home would only spend a little time with him and I wasn’t satisfied with the outcome. With a birth of another son, life turned busier. I wasn’t sure when to start or whom to approach to help Zakir memorize the Quran.
As a kindergartener, Zakir used to return home early. To prevent him from troubling the baby, I used to play nasheed (Islamic poems/songs) on the computer. He would hum the nasheed while playing. This is
when it struck me – MY SON COULD LEARN TO RECITE FROM THE BEST QARI IN THE WORLD! Qari (Quran reciters) like Misry AlAfasy, Khalifa Al Tunaiji, Husairi and more could indeed help my son memorize the Quran! Several websites with memorizing option are freely available for us to explore! I tried such a website. Alhamdulillah. 4-year-old Zakir was happily reciting the verses I had just played on repeat mode! And here began our Quran memorization journey.
Prior to the birth of my son, I had attempted several times to memorize few small chapters from the Quran. We all know the story of the Hare and the tortoise. Let’s just say, my approach was more like that of the Hare! I could have never completed the mammoth task like this. I did pray and plead to Allah to make Quran my companion in the grave. But, I was not doing enough to give life to my supplications. The All-wise Allah, who had installed this desire in my heart also showed me a way to give life to my desire. I wanted my son to see Quran as a part of his life. This required me to take time out and dedicate myself completely for memorization. During this fixed time, nothing else was to be given preference! Could there be a better way to have quality time with one’s child?
Does one’s smartness or memorizing speed make a difference? It wouldn’t help if we are not consistent. I tried my best to make memorization an everyday task. It didn’t bother me if we just memorized a line or a word as long as we continued spending time with the Quran. We read and listened to the verse over and over again. Having a little buddy made this task much easier. My son’s company served as the much-needed push to keep me on the track.
All my life, I avoided studying anything I didn’t understand. Even as a teen I preferred reading the translation of the Quran to the original Arabic text! Back then, I just couldn’t read Arabic. Even after, I had taken up tafsir (explanation) course, I hesitated reading Arabic text while explaining translation to others. When I finally had to, I was down to tears due to my inability to read Arabic fluently. And in my tajweed (art of reciting Quran) class, I was probably the weakest student. Till date, my pronunciation in any language is far from perfect. Honestly, even in my early twenties, I would have never foreseen myself trying to memorize the Quran. But most merciful Allah has helped me start this journey of memorizing Quran. Alhamdulillah. When I could do it, anybody could do it with Allah’s help. The first step is the most difficult step.
Additional benefits of Memorizing Quran
Like any other normal seven-year-old, my son loves to play and read books. He too demands the toys that are in trend. He dislikes cleaning up. He too plays pranks around his little brother and tests my patience with his mischief. I can’t keep him from being influenced by factors outside the home. But, I hope in future he’ll influence those around him in a positive way. When he first joined the school, he returned home singing a song in a language I didn’t understand. After he started memorizing, he returned home stating that he taught few of his friends the chapters he had learned. His love to memorize things surprise me. Even if it is not necessary, he readily memorizes any poem he loves during the school hours.
This journey was originally taken to help my son memorize Quran. The truth is – it is my little buddy who has helped me more. Like any other little chap, he is much faster than me in memorizing and refuses to continue unless I too memorize the verses. This has resulted in me spending more time with Quran when he is at school. I know I am not good enough to teach him or anyone else. His pronunciation is far better than mine (We still have a teacher helping him recite Quran). The necessity to improve my tajweed has dragged me to the masjid. I opted to visit a masjid which is a bit far from home. Well for every step towards masjid don’t our sins shed. Plus, a brisk walk is good for our health. Sometimes, I feel lazy. Then I think of a walk in the paradise which I could be rewarded for this. (Insha Allah <3) This gives me the much-needed boost.
Insha Allah, I would like my son to join the halaqa (memorizing circle in masjid). There he could study much better. I don’t know how long will I be able to keep pace with him. Maybe soon he would not need me to help him out. Ah, it would be nice to see him take a role of the teacher and teach his brother (and me too). Yes, I would love to become a hafiza. I would love more to see my sons turn into Hafiz and live trying their best to please Allah. After all, parents are rewarded in heaven for this!
Quran time is a blessing in other ways too. My naughty explorers are silent during and after Quran session. It keeps us away from TV and the computer. We have things to speak and laugh about, which only we understand. Zakir has even invented some Quran recitation games and pop quizzes!
I can’t thank Allah enough for blessing me with a son, who in turn helped me take this major step. Now I work like the tortoise (recollect the good old story about hare and the tortoise ). We take a step at a time. The finish line is far away. I am not sure whether I’ll be able to reach it. Insha Allah, I’ll never give up. May Allah make it easy on us. Aameen.
Would you like to take up such a journey? Who would be your memorizing buddy? Maybe my upcoming post on tips to memorize from home will motivate you further.