A LIFE WITH LIGHT

Do you wish to be amidst angels?

Dear readers, I hope you are back to see how I had fared in the Surah an-noor memorization contest. I had tried hard and had managed to memorize surah an noor within a month’s time. Still I hoped that the contest was postponed by a week. Even a day’s delay could have improved my recitation drastically. Contestant was held as scheduled .

I waited in a room along with other contestants to be called for recitation. Fortunately, we didn’t have to recite on stage in font of one another. Our flaws wouldn’t be exposed to one another.Phew. Still, I was much tensed. I was able to hear my heart aloud. Whenever I am tensed, I try to see things through other’s perspective. This helps me a lot. I closed my quran and started looking at other participants in the room. They seemed equally tensed too. They were all reciting surah annoor. Amidst buzz, I was able to hear each one of them clearly. I have to admit, I was mesmerized by the way they were reciting. It was Honey to ears. They had all spent a month like me to memorize quran.  I wondered, amidst how many challenges, these ladies should have memorized. Some should have struggled more than me; memorizing 10 pages in a week shouldn’t have been a big deal for few others. Though we all had come there for the same purpose our Ajar (good deeds) would vary.

Do you wish to be amidst angels?
Read Quran for Double Reward

Soon I was called for recitation. There were two section of verses to be recited (picked from a lot) – I did one well and other not so well. I knew I wouldn’t be shortlisted and asked my kind judges where I should improve. I had to recite slower and work more on letter “ain” and “Ha”. Yes! this is where the contest end for me. My hubby was very disappointed. He was sure, I will be called back. For him my recitation was perfect. Do I have to write how flattered I felt then? J Two days later I received SMS confirming my rejection.

 

Dear reader, what do you think about this struggle. Do you think, my efforts were in vain? If winning was my intension, IT SHOULD BE A BIG LOSS. This contest boosted my confidence.

 

  • For once, I was convinced Quran memorization is a possible task for me! I had managed to memorize more than I could have ever imagined memorizing in a month’s time.
  • It showed me it was possible to have a strong relation with quran outside the month of Ramadan. (As I had discussed in introduction). For the first time in my life I had Quran in my hands like a baby in a mother’s arm, or like a subject book before exams. And the last few days were spent like last few nights of Ramadan. Devil which needs to be locked away by us is ‘ Nafs’- it’s within us.
  • It made me reflect on the time/life I had wasted. We could all do so much more within a day! If we could just overlook our excuses, we can work for better eternity. Our excuses cannot save us from ultimate Loss. I pondered upon self- improvement.
  • Yes, we are weak beings and have a great chance of drifting away. This doesn’t mean we should give up. It’s time to start afresh. Remember, I hadn’t memorized for a week; Much to my surprise, by Allah’s grace –I had managed to catchup!
  • And the biggest reward is indeed, having by hearted surah Annoor.

Alhamdhulillah, I am glad I participated in this contest. Insha Allah, if I again get a chance to participate in such a contest, I wouldn’t let it pass by. Insha Allah, there will come a day when I won’t be eligible for the contest – as the surah allotted for the contest would be  one I’ve already memorized.

 

Still, it cannot to be ignored; In spite of my best efforts (so far- in my life), I had not even been short listed for finals! It was a big reminder that – ALLAH IS NOT SHORT OF HIS WORSHIPPERS. He doesn’t need my prayers and sacrifices. IT’S ME WHO DESPERATELY NEEDS HIM. Whatever I do to please Him will only benefit me in Hereafter.  We have absolutely no idea – how well we will fair in hereafter. How can we feel assured with what little we do, that we’ll live an eternity in bliss?

Has Allah promised safety from Hell?
Illusion of being safe from hell

Even an extra day of practice could have helped me lot in improving my recitation. But this was all the time I had. LIFE- ALSO HAS  A BEGINNING AND  AN END. Sad part is, we don’t know when we will leave the world. Still we live as though there is no end. We are happy with entertainment life has to offer and avoid spending enough time with Quran. I hope we are not amidst those who cry in vain with a request to be sent back to do some righteous work.  LET’S BE PREPARED.

No respite from death
Pleading to be returned.

I recollect how tensed we participants were prior to the recital. Majority of us were concerned about our own recitation (of course, this should be the focus). This made me reflect on Day of resurrection – when we would be waiting to be judged. That would be the real tensed day, when all will fear the anger of Allah. It is this thought which made me be little the tension in the room. On that day of gathering, we would run away from those we are close too. Only thing that would matter to us is – HAVING OUR RIGHTEOUS DEEDS. How nice Insha Allah would it be, to be in peace amidst 7 who are promised shade when there is no other shade except of his throne. Shouldn’t we care to be amidst them?

Just ruler, heart in masjid, cries remembering Allah
7 under Shade

Life is a gift filled with opportunities. The opportunity bestowed upon us will not be keep waiting for us. If we don’t grab it someone else would utilize the chance to get close to Allah. Even a smallest act could have great impact. I don’t remember who had sent the message about contest in the WhatsApp group. Though that lady had not participated in the contest, she has been part of my journey! May Allah reward her for bothering to forwarding the message. How many of us would have done it? Be generous in forwarding such messages even if you can’t avail the opportunity. You never know in which small deed there could be limitless blessing.

Small acts can save from fire
Half a date

And think about the amount of blessings the organizers of the contest should have earned by attracting people like me towards memorization! Allah-o-akbar.

grow deeds like grain
Good deeds multiply

We, within our limits can also encourage others towards righteousness. Why not hold a small quiz contest amidst kids on oft repeated words/invocation in islam? During get together kids/grownups can be asked to prepared a speech on certain topics (About a  sahaba(companion) or on ‘How to respect parents’). Providing such opportunities could build interest towards islam. It could leave a deep impact on a kid.

Every deed counts
Unlimited reward

Other thing which struck my cord was, how shocked my husband was with my rejection.  This reminded me of a hadith:

Hell for those preach and dont adhere
Result of not practicing what one preaches

That’s scary! I seek refuge in Allah from being amidst such. Here, even during contest my flaws in recitation were hidden from other contestants. It was such a relief. I hope Allah, the Gafoor (oft forgiving) overlooks and forgives my short coming.

 

And I’m to reveal a heavy secret. Few days after contest, I found it tough to recollect few verses. It’s important to keep revising and reciting the memorized verses.  MEMORIZING QURAN IS EASY. RETAINING IT IS TOUGH. (Unless a fixed time is allotted for revision) The contest is over. But it’s upto me to retain Light from this contest.  May Allah help us to memorize, revise and retain Quran in our heart. Ameen.

Dua of light
Quran- Spring of heart; Light of cheat; Banisher of Sadness; Reliver of Distress;

Increase me in light, increase me in light, increase me in light .

Hold on to Quran; Organize your life around Salah; Rush towards righteousness; Save for your hereafter. Insha Allah, with this we could have real paradise vacation as permanent destination in store for us. Let’s make LIFE A SOURCE OF LIGHT.

Prepublished in Muslimahbloggers.

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A LIGHT DRENCHED HEART

AssalamAlikum. Dear readers, thanks for joining me in the journey of memorizing surah Annoor. I had to memorize surah an-noor in about a month’s time (5 weeks to be precise) to compete in a contest. By sticking to the plan posted in my last post, I was able to memorize 31 verses out of 64 verses of the surah in less than 2 weeks. I was astonished to see me memorize long verse about hijab (verse 31) with ease! I had found it difficult to recite earlier. Doesn’t it sound great? WOW!! Half of the chapter was in my grasp. A piece of cake! Was it really? That’s just 4 pages of the 10 pages to be memorized.  But human mind has ability to see things easy. This is where good things seemed to come to a halt. Why?

I had fallen prey to whispers of shaithan. I had been deceived. It is very difficult to reveal the reason.The biggest reason for my downfall is “NAFS” – myself. It’s me who had turnedOVERCONFIDENT. I hadn’t been wise to stick to plan. I had also procrastinated.

I was pleased with what I had memorized and didn’t give enough time for quran. Subsequently, everything seemed important. I was scheduling family gatherings and friend’s get together. These seemed like most important things to be done! Whenever I opened annoor, I always remembered something ‘better’ to do and was tempted to do it. Few more minutes with my kids or browsing or reading wasn’t going to change much. Before I could realize the minutes had changed into hours and days. A week flew by and I had not bothered to memorize a line. By that week end, I tried desperately to catch up. Now being nervous nothing seemed to register in my mind. I was convinced I had failed.

I was very upset. I was consoledmyself  – ‘Atleast I tried. Allah is most merciful’. Ah! This is other type of shaitan’s whisper to keep us from doing our best. There were still 3 weeks to go. It was too early to accept defeat. Now, I decided to keep memorizing. Though not confident, I wanted to see how much I could memorize. Continue reading A LIGHT DRENCHED HEART

A MONTH WITH LIGHT

Are there any desires harboring in your heart? Fear of failure prevents us from even attempting to accomplish some desires. Some great halal desires are left buried in our heart. Let me share with you my secret desire. It is to memorize the entire Quran before I enter the grave. I went to masjid to accomplish my goal. I stopped going to masjid once I was pregnant. I decided to go back after delivery. Now 6 years later, I’m a still at home with 2 kids.

Few months back, as I was casually browsing through messages in a WhatsApp group, my eyes fell upon a contest.  Do contests excite you? Well, this made me feel butterflies in my stomach. It was an invitation to MEMORIZE SURAT AN-NOOR in about a months’ time for sisters above 18 years of age! This rekindled my desire. But, I was afraid I could never do it within time.

I had been praying to Allah to make me a hafiz. I hardly did anything more to become a hafiz. This contest appeared to be an invitation just for me.  I recollected, this Madanee surah LIGHT spoke about chastity, hijab and related matters; I had found it even difficult to recite it in my tajweed(recitation) classes! Casting away the fear of failure, I decided to grab this smiling opportunity. I registered for the contest. Few days later I got a message stating that – I was selected! Contest was 35 days later.

This is when I opened the 24th chapter of quran – THE LIGHT. This chapter contained 64 long verses and occupied nearly 10 pages of the quran. Never in my life had I tried memorizing 10 pages within a month. Was this going to be something bigger than I can chew? I told myself Allah will make it easy for me.  I read the first line:

surah

The word obligatory/enjoined/ordained made me realize the weight of the surah.  First verse also stated – “it was revealed to be remembered.” More than memorization it is important to live by the rules set by quran. Memorization could help us remember/recollect the rules better. Next few lines spoke of penalty on false accusation. By night, as I rocked my baby to sleep, I attempted to memorize. I read a first word repeatedly. Then I read two words together and so on. Within minutes I had memorized a verse! Indeed Allah has made Quran easy for us.

Quran

The next day was usual. Daily chores and family had consumed all my time. By evening, memorizing noor appeared to be an impossible task for me.  Such whispers were silenced by “Auzbillahi minash shaitan nir rajeem – I seek refuge in Allah the Shaitan the outcast.”  Now with a clear head I wondered why I didn’t find time for Noor?

I felt like a kid at store who had blown the cash on candies instead of bread for family! Candy is something we DESIRE but bread is our NEED/ Requirement.  What was I toiling for –Family, Perfect Home, Good impression, High standards? These are the ‘candies’ of this world.  The real eternal life starts after death. I had to stock good deeds (my bread) to save my eternity. It was time for me to turn wise.

wealth quran

First I had work on my intention. It had to be strong enough to motivate. My dream, to memorize quran was in wrong category – DESIRE. I had to promote it to – MY NECESSITY / desperate NEED. I had to give Quran the first preference. There would always be 1000 excuses to stay away from quran. Such a ‘busy’ life would leave me alone in a dark grave with no hope. But just one good strong intention“To please Allah” would make life easy and fruitful.

quran chapter 102

Next, I focused on practical changes to fit Noor memorization into my life:

  • Fix target: I decided to memorize at least a page in 3 days. By doing this, I would have 1 spare week to revise and improve.
  • Multi task: World class reciters were now reciting Noor for me in my kitchen as I cooked! Alhamdhulilah, websites and quranapps came handy here. J
  • Involve family: So it was time for the whole family to connect to quran! I discussed the tafseer (explanation) of surah with my hubby.
  • Save time: This required avoiding unnecessary calls and visits. I had to curb my addiction to solve online puzzles.
  • Simplify chores: I settled for less complicated recipes with few ingredients. I allotted few chores to my family too.

Alhamdhulilah within a week I memorized 2 pages (20 verses)!

Little did I think – the contest was going to test much more than my memorization skills. It was to test my perseverance, dedication, patience, self-esteem and IMAN (faith) level too. Please read my next post to learn more about my journey.

Prepublished in Muslimahbloggers

For list of other posts please click here

Iman Nourishing ‘N’

Bismillah

Assalam Alikum, Glad to see you back. May Allah reward you for your zeal to attain His Pleasure. Ameen.  Our entire life is at His service. Our worship and obedience is not limited to Ramadan. Are you ready for Ibada style changes (In case you have missed please read the previous post by clicking on the link)? Let’s work upon three ‘N’ in our life to nourish our Iman (Belief).  These are NIYYATH, NAIMATH and NADAMATH.

Niyyath – Intention

Iman Nourishing N

Intention is the basic requirement for acceptance of deeds by Allah SWT. Don’t mix acts of piety with other things. Do only for the sake of Allah. Check yourself, avoid show off. Your class mates or colleagues don’t need to know you had been praying all night or give a large amount  in zakat – unless, you say so to inspire your friends too. We can reap the reward for inspiring. Only Allah knows your true intention.

With right intent even daily chores can be banked as good deeds! Don’t just go to the market to buy groceries, go seeking Allah’s fadal(bounty) and assistance to nourish your family. Remember to thank Allah too.

With improper niyyath even acts of worship would be lost; and with proper niyyath simple chores can turn into ibadah.

Naimath – Blessing

 

Appreciate the things you are blessed with and utilize them in way of Allah.

five before five hand clock

Narrated Ibn `Abbas: The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam) said, “There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) Health and free time for doing good. ” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

Don’t waste your precious time and provisions; utilize them in the way of Allah. Allocate time to memorize Quran. Fill your smartphones with Islamic apps. Install love of Islam into your young one’s heart. Share with your spouse what you learnt from tafseer. Visit your relatives and gift them Islamic books. Prepare meal for your sick neighbor. Write an article against injustice for your local paper. Grab every opportunities to win Allah’s love.

Multi task: when you are doing manual work don’t let your mind wander. Listen to Siera of prophet or memorized portion of Quran as you cook or stitch. Utilize the time spent driving in car. While waiting in queue avoid frustration by doing zikr.

New Leaf 2

Learn small duas and make it part of life. Add small acts of sunnah into your life. For instance, while wearing clothes start with right; Use Mishwak.

NADAMATH – Remorse

We are humans and are imperfect. There could be things we have done we shouldn’t be doing. We have to work over them.  Recognize deeds which could be reason for Regret on Day of resurrection.

minorsins bonfire

 

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Beware of minor sins. Verily, they gather upon a man until he is destroyed.”  (Musnad Ahmad)

  • When there is an urge to sin, substitute it with a better alternative. Curb cravings for music by listening to Nasheed. Try sauna to avoid smoking.
  • Are you unable to overcome your addiction. Repent ask for Allah’s help and fix a punishment. If addicted to porn fast. Couldn’t save tongue from gossip – give a fixed amount in charity.
  • If still addicted, increase your punishment. Increase the amount fixed for charity. Give away gadgets causing you to sin.

New leaf 4

Insha Allah, with such minor changes we can see more blessings in our life. What are we waiting for? Allah SWT is there to guide us along. Most difficult part is – Taking the very first step. It’s time to begin working on what really benefits us – Our iman. Let’s take step together.

New Leaf 5

Dear readers, feel free to share your suggestions for improvement. In Ramadan we had set targets like reading entire quran, praying Taraweeh, Itikaaf. How about setting targets in other months too?!!  Insha Allah, my next post “A month with light” is all about a target which inspired me to write this post. Please join me in this journey.

Prepublished in Muslimahbloggers

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Ibadah style changes – Introduction

Quran-Ibada style changes

Bismillah

Alhamdhulillah!  Ramadan had been such a blessed month. Though days were long, Allah (s.w.t) made it easy for us to fast. Quran and Salah were our highest priorities in Ramadan. We stole moments from our usual routine to go back to Quran, to recite it and to reflect more on it.  Our efforts doubled in the last ten blessed nights of Ramadan. We hoped to make most of Lailatul Qadr.  We begged Allah to answer our list of invocation. And every night we had a new list to beg for and we hoped that was the night of decree. Finally, when moon was sighted though we were happy to havesuccessfully fasted through the month of Ramadan, still we felt a sharp pain at farewell of the blessed month.  Most of us had self-imposed a ban on TV, Facebook, online games, unnecessaryphone calls and much more, so as to perfect one’s fast.

How blessed were those days of Ramadan when His pleasure meant everything to us? Please read that question again. Isn’t that a wrong question? Aren’t all our days meant to please Him? Why have we limited piety, compassion and charity only to Ramadan? Why can’t we feel that tranquility in other months too?  Doesn’t everyday have the same 24 hours?

I do agree, shayateen had been chained in the month of Ramadan. But, with the training in Ramadan our nafs (self –soul) should now be strong enough to battle shaitan’s whispers. Instead, we have taken a ‘U’ turn on the day of Eid. Our TV’s are crying the old sagas; music has sneaked back into our cars; free time is killed with online games and gossip!!! Honestly, what have we brought forth from our experience in Ramadan? Why is this happening?

Do you remember the last time you took up a crash diet scheme to shed few pounds. Well, wewanted to fit into a sleek dress and look our best for a certain event. We gave up carbs, sugar and dairy. It did work well. Then, after much awaited events we award ourselves with delicacies. Yummy!  Before we could realize, we gain back the lost pounds and sometimes even more! What went wrong? Well I can almost hear some of you scream out, for permanent impact we need toincorporate lifestyle changes. Small changes like replacing unhealthy carbs with healthier ones; avoiding processed meals; incorporating organic food. Such life style is not just limited to food. It includes exercise and other activities too! The results are slow but substantial than our crash scheme. Ironically, these changes are much more difficult to adopt by most of us. Key player is the motive. Instead of limiting it to a sleek dress, let it be for healthy life.

Our external look makes no difference in our rank before Allah. It’s our heart he is interested in.Nothing is hidden from Him. Our beauty is Taqwa (God consciousness).  Our motive in Ramadan was to shed our sins away. We also beg Allah to assist us with matters which bother us and trusted Him alone. We surpass our expectations by praying all night and reciting complete Quran once or more within this month. Once we have bid farewell to Ramadan, our priorities change…. We are busy trying to catch up things we had forsaken in Ramadan. This is because we have been treating Ramadan like a crash diet course. The most Merciful Generous Allah might have forgiven our sins. But we are greedily filling them back. Is this how we would like to return to Him?

Ramadan is just a glimpse of what we could achieve by spiritual standards. Let us learn from Ramadan. It’s not just time to shed sins but also to recharge taqwa. Once charged it’s up to us to keep the spark alive. It’s time to make Ibadah style changes to continue polishing our soul.  Worship is not limited to Ramadan. Life of a believer is worship.  We have to prove to Allah we are Abd-Allah and Abd- Ramadan. (We are His slaves and not slaves of Ramadan).

Well, what could we do?  Let’s work upon three ‘N’ (?)– in our life. (Any guesses?) It’s time to change from Abdur Ramdan to Abd Allah. Join me in this metamorphism. Let’s beautify our self for Allah.  Read my next post to learn about the three ‘N’s, Iman Nourishing ‘N’.

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