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.
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. Poor farmer could do nothing to save his harvest.
He learns of 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-
Alhamdhulillah, we can save ourselves from minor sins by fasting this Ashoora (10th of Muharam). Yes, it is not compulsory to fast. I trust you are wise enough to make most of this opportunity. Our Merciful Creator is most Beneficent. Let’s not just stop there. Let’s follow sunnah (way of the prophet) and fast a day more! What could be a better way ensure our reward than to follow Sunnah?
Just two days of fasting is all it would take to save ourselves from minor sins of past year! Alhamdhulillah. Some of us might not be able to fast on these days. Do not be dishearten. Muharram is also the best month to accumulate good deeds by fasting. The entire month of Muharaam is most preferred month to fast voluntary fasts.
Let us ensure that we fast our missed fard (compulsory fasts) in this month. Then, maybe we can fast some more. Let us make most of Allah’s generosity in this month. Let’s expiate our sins and increase our yield! May we be successful. Aameen.
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 beautyis 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’.