Just Another Ramadan

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بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

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?

angels do not enter a home with pictures

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.

Gates of paradise opened on Monday and Thursday
Hadith Wait until they reconcile

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? 

fasting for a year

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.

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My Little Quran Buddy

 

my little quran buddy
My little Quran buddy

 

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

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).

Zakkariya As invocations

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.

Zakkariya As reason for invocation

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.

zakkarriya as being grateful for the blessings

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.

 

Allah remembers/ mentions you as you remember Him
Allah draws close to one who moves towards Him

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.

Ascend with Quran

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!

crown

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.

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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.

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