“…I am invoking You [Allah] by all the names that You call Yourself, that You have taught to anyone in Your creation, that You have mentioned in Your Book, or that You have kept unknown. Let the Qur’an be Springtime of my heart, the light of my chest, the remover of my sadness and the pacifier of my worries.”
For years I carried around the little book of duas, Fortress of a Muslim, the pocket-sized dua book that has every dua you need from morning to night, from when it thunders to when you feel anxious and it’s been my go-to for Ramadan, times of difficulty and as a general reference book. I always had a copy, even when I was not a practicing Muslim and it’s a perfect gift for new Muslims, new mothers and pretty much every occasion, the author of the book Shaykh Sa’d Al-Qahtani recently passed away. May Allah have mercy on his soul and grant him the highest ranks in Jannah. Ameen.
The book brought me the words that reminded me to re-visit another book that should be most beloved to us, these were the words that stirred my heart:
“Let the Qur’an be Springtime of my heart, the light of my chest, the remover of my sadness and the pacifier of my worries.”
Perhaps I had come across the words before but at this moment there was something about the verse that brought instant relief, in fact, a peace to me, upon reading the words for the first time I smiled and cried, it was the realisation that despite all the problems in my life-my relationship with Allah would alleviate the worry and sadness, it seemed as though there was a solution that had some immediacy, I didn’t expect the problems to disappear, but I knew that improving my relationship with Islam would help the way I approached everything else. I also began to realise whilst my Fortress of a Muslim book was important and helpful, nothing could replace the Quran which was used to fill this tiny book. The source of these daily reminders was Allah and Allah has sent humankind the Quran.
“Verily, We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book for mankind in truth. So whosoever accepts the guidance, it is only for his own self, and whosoever goes astray, he goes astray only for his (own) loss. ”
Quran Surah Al-Zumar, Verse 41
As I sat in a halaqa gathering over the weekend I was brought back to this exact thought again as speaker Raghad Altiriki repeated to us:
“The Quran, Quran, Quran” should be what we draw close to.
What I reflected on was a point she carefully made about the fact her very own words as powerful and inspiring they may see are all inspired and come from Allah’s gift, the Quran. Her words were merely reminders and messages from Allah and examples of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
I reflected on my interaction over the years with Islamic knowledge, often reading many articles or having a youtube video in the background whilst I worked or listening to Imams, scholars and speakers who would speak of Islam. We often hold the people relaying he words in such a high position that we forget that the threading of verses from the Quran come from one source, Allah and Allah has sent us the Quran. Whilst I think it’s important to have access and engagement with videos and articles on Islam we should not replace the time we have with the Quran with these things.
The relationship with the Quran should be maintained and prioritised above everything else.
Over the years I have attempted to bring the Quran into my daily life through reading the Arabic version and know my Arabic stutters, pauses and makes mistakes but none the less I try and continue to do my best. I have also realised that we can approach the Quran in a variety of ways as well as complement our reading of the Quran with other receommended text so with that I’d like to share a few ways you can engage with the Quran this Ramadan AND out of Ramadan too because the Quran isn’t just for the month of Ramadan, it is for our entire lives, till the moment we return to our Lord, mAllahlah be pleased with us. Ameen. May we all be blessed to see another Ramadan and to gain closeness to the Quran. Ameen.
When we embark on anything in this world we should do so with the right intention, even embarking on improving our relationship with the Quran should start and continue with the right intention. The Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) reminded us:
“Truly, the deeds are only according to the intentions, and to every man is that which he has intended. Whoever, therefore, undertakes his migration (hiǧra) for the sake of Allaah and His Messenger’s will, his migration is for Allaah and his Messenger; but whoever undertakes his migration for earthly life will achieve it, or because of a woman to marry her, his migration is for that for which he migrated.”
My Arabic pronunciation considerably improved through listening to some of my favourite surahs on repeat, Surah Yasin and Baqrah can be found online and versions with repetition too. Don’t underestimate listening to the same thing over and over again, I realised when I came to read Surah Baqrah in Arabic my Arabic began to flow as somehow I had memorised different parts of it and my reading flow improved. It’s also a good replacement for music and allows you to work and have something beneficial on in the background. Try listening to recitors from around the world, the recitation below os of our Sudanese brother Shaikh Noren Mohammad Sadiq is beautiful.
With anything new often it’s important to assess and understand where you are at already and improving on it, it’s not always about starting fresh. Whether you know two surahs or ten, it’s always good to improve on what you know and building upon it. With surahs I know I have tried to improve my recitation through listening and increased my engaement and familiarity with the surah by reading the translation as well as the tafseer. I used to see people cry at the mention of a surah or be stirred by a sentence and I just did not have that feeling, I realised if I began to understand the words I repeated day in and day out then that connection would improve.
Don’t underestimate the value of what you already know, just use it as a foundation to learn and establish a deeper relationship.
For a long time, my Arabic was at a point of stagnation and I would stutter at every word, I still do occasionally, reading a page of Quran was exhausting so I stayed with one surah day in and day out. I knew fatiha, many of us may know it too. I would read Arabic over and over again, looking at each letter very carefully as I read. Some days I would listen as I was reading the familiar surah and I would ensure I went at the pace of the recitor, I did this for one whole month on my commutes to and fro work, when Ramadan came I started to progress beyond Fatiha and my Arabic had improved, the repetitive looking at the words, grammar, and flow had contributed to my confidence when reading further. I alternated from listening, reading and exploring the tafseer to keep the learning dynamic, the last thing you should do is inflict boredom upon yourself!
Often we fall into a place where we think that reading Arabic without understanding has no value but it does and we should not stop reading it for this reason. In the month of Ramadan, we are rewarded for every word we read several times over so keep reading even if you do not understand, in time you will begin to come across common words like:
A recent halaqa reminded me that we really do need to begin to understand what we read in arabic if it is not our first langauge, it’s what brings our salahs alive, and our faith can be more nourished. I do not doubt that reciting arabic alone is still beneficial but understanding what you read can really enhance your salah and duas through the day. If you feeel empty as you stand in salah, take the time to read the Quran in English, it can help you connect.
Once you build up a steady consistency in reading the Quran you will begin to come across words, again and again, one of the best ways for them to stay with you is to build up a mini dictionary of words from the Quran, with definitions written by you.
“Put simply, Quran Journaling is exactly what it sounds like, committing to regular studying, analysing and reflecting on God’s blessed verses and putting it down on paper somehow.”
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قَالَ أَرَأَيْتَ إِذْ أَوَيْنَا إِلَى الصَّخْرَةِ فَإِنِّي نَسِيتُ الْحُوتَ وَمَا أَنسَانِيهُ إِلَّا الشَّيْطَانُ أَنْ أَذْكُرَهُ وَاتَّخَذَ سَبِيلَهُ فِي الْبَحْرِ عَجَبًا . The servant said: "Did you see what happened? When we betook ourselves to the rock to take rest, I forgot the fish – and it is only Satan who caused me to forget to mention it to you – so that it made its way into the sea in a strange manner." . Surah al Kahf, 18: 63 . One of the adaab (etiquette) of seeking knowledge is patience & perseverance. The devil (shaytan) makes us forget these in one of two ways. . One, he whispers that knowledge-seeking especially for the sake of Allah and of oneself, is too hard. It takes a lot of time and there’s no material benefit or reward in it. Most times life gets more challenging and difficult. Or why bother now – you’re young and healthy, there’s so much that life is offering, enjoy it and leave the knowledge seeking a little later on. Or that there’s too much responsibility at this stage that you cannot afford to take some time to learn about God and life. In any case, you cannot be patient with it. It’s best to leave it off for the time being and focus on what matters in this physical life. . Or, he whispers that your intentions are great, he praises you for it with an underlying evil motive. He’ll say that yes you should be studying and learning about God, the religion etc. But if you’re going to do it, then you’ll need to give 100% of your time and abandon others. There’s no time for relaxing, or visiting families, not even time to enjoy the little things in life. It’s all or nothing. So you did as he say. You’re trying to understand everything all at once. Sooner or later you abandoned it altogether because you just can’t keep up. And your thoughts drifted to the previous whisper, where the knowledge seeking has become difficult and not worth your time. . In both cases, we forgot our initial intentions. We forgot that in everything is balance; that we must be patient; that it’s okay to just do a little everyday. . May He accept our little deeds and make us consistent in it. آمين اللهم آمين ❤️
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The Quran can be separated in a range of different ways, one of the most helpful is when someone is able to look and study the specific themes within the Quran. This year I am looking at the theme of Taqwa, it is mentioned several hundred times in the Quran where as fasting is mentioned once: @faakihah shows us how she does her and @its_Mahmuuh reminds us on Twitter that we can approach this by looking at each Juz.
Draw up this personal plan, review it constantly, and put it into action!
Step.4: UNDERSTAND THE QURAN
Read the translation of the Juzz you will be reciting daily. Having a basic knowledge of the theme, topic, message & meaning of what you are reciting
— Mhareyam (@its_Mahmuuh) May 3, 2019
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Lettering doodles as I was going through the chapter on “The fada’il of the surahs and their themes”, from 📖 “A Tentative Guide to the Themes of the Surahs of the Qur’an”, by HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad. . . . #faakihahac #quranthemes #virtuesofsurahs #lettering #handlettering #brushlettering #knowledgeseeker #islamicstudies #studentofknowledge #selfdiscovery #seekingAllah #studygram #quranicarabicstudygram #arabicstudygram #studydiary #islamicjournaling #muslimjournal #quranjournaling #quranjournal
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Whatever methods you choose to engage with the Quran just begin with picking it up Insha Allah. Focus on your intention and go forth with your relationship.
Co-founder of Amaliah amongst many other roles. Selina is passionate about empowering those around her and just trying to be a better person. She loves looking after plants and a good cuppa because motherhood and running Amaliah.com is not for the faint hearted. She is also Co-founder to Aishah and Eesa and currently a one digit mother, Alhamdulilah. You will find her in the local charity shop, garden centre or park with her kids. Have a listen to the Amaliah Voices podcast. Link in bio peeps. To join the Amaliah Writer Community email me at [email protected]