Hifz tips…

A friend of mine asked me to give some tips for memorizing Quran… Although I have read many articles on it and have listened to the talks from various experts on this topic… still at the end of the day what matters is how much importance I give to Quran and how much I am willing to work for it…

Basically these tips fall into two main categories… interior and exterior.

We often make the mistake of focusing only on the exterior and that is why it doesn’t work long term…

By exterior I mean, following a balanced sleep cycle… choosing the best time… good posture… having a teacher… use of mobile apps… enough repetition… extra time for revision… keeping the same Mushaf… etc

But all of these things are like a building… a visible structure… but the building cannot stand without the foundation which is unseen but so important…

Therefore we must begin with the foundation… the inner preparation…

First of all we must be very clear on what we hope to achieve through this activity of hifz?  

Our purpose should only be to earn the pleasure and closeness of Allah. For my own self, it is like the water for my soul… because the more I repeat the words of Allah the more clear they become to my heart… and so my heart gets more and more focused on Allah and the hereafter…

It is extremely important to keep revisiting our intentions because when we forget our objectives and hifz becomes just a routine exercise of the mind… then the heart loses interest and we tend to give up… that is why we have so many gaps where we don’t “find time” for it due to so many excuses… and then finally when we do sit down to reconnect with Quran we find that so much has been lost… making us feel so miserable and disappointed… therefore this tip of making a solid intention and reminding yourself about it… should be the number one step of our journey through Quran…

2- The second tip is to get clean and organized… not just on the outside… but more importantly inside our hearts. Do a lot of taubah and istighfar to clean the heart from all the rubbish of sins and negative thinking. Doing Hifz without taubah is like filling a dirty glass with fresh sweet milk… no one would be so foolish not to clean the glass first!!

3- Be really really greedy… super eager and passionate… absolutely thirsty for Quran… because it is this intense longing inside the heart that will act like a sponge which collects the water in seconds…

To develop this yearning, it is recommended that whenever you feel a thirst in your heart… then don’t try to quench it with anything else except the Quran… and whenever you feel restless, then don’t try to comfort your heart with any other thing except the words of Allah… and whenever you feel any emptiness in your life, don’t try to fill it up with any other thing except this book of guidance… in this way you will train your heart to love the Quran more than any other thing in this world…

4- Nothing can happen without the will of Allah… so ask for His help and His tawfeeq… beg Him to make the Quran most beloved to you… and most easy to work with. The moment you feel any weakness, or any difficulty… turn to Allah… in humbleness and in hope…

5- Avoid sins like you avoid accidents and disasters… Fear the disapproval of Allah like you fear the fire… or drowning… or falling… because sins are even more harmful than these afflictions… So take all precautions that you can… but if you still happen to make a mistake, then don’t delay taubah… immediately do istighfar and come back on track!

6- Another good tip is to do daily sadaqah… it wipes away sins and also gives energy for doing good deeds.

7- The best sadaqah is to be on your very best behavior with your parents and other family members. Let them see how hifz is making you a good human being!

8- Let your tongue be used only for good words… because a tongue that backbites or humiliates others or taunts or utters nonsense… cannot truly taste the sweetness of Allah’s words… And the heart that bears grudges and resentments and jealousy and other negative emotions cannot retain the words of Allah… so do hifazat of your thoughts and words.

9- The person who wants to do Hifz of Quran is actually embarking on a great responsibility of being a carrier of Allah’s words… Such a person cannot indulge in idle pleasures and amusements… His time becomes so much precious, so he doesn’t waste it in vain activities… Be a hafiz of your time, and Allah will be Al-Hafiz over all your affairs… He will make it easy for you to concentrate on Quran.

Allah does not look at your talents but it is your dedication, commitment, time and hard work that matters… so even if it takes you 10, 15, 20 or more years to complete the Quran… just imagine being able to say… “I had a 15 year memorization relationship with the Quran and the Quality of my life improved with every second!!”

May Allah bless us all with such a life… full of Quran… inside and out… Ameen

Muharram and Migration

I just read this article but have no idea who wrote it… anyway it was too good so I thought of sharing it… may Allah help us to reflect and act on it… Ameen

Alhamdulillah, our new year has begun with the blessed month of Muharram. It reminds us of the migration (hijrah) of the Prophet (s.a.w) and the many sacrifices he made for the Deen. Due to increasing persecution, Allah’s (s.w.t.) commanded the Prophet (s.a.w) to migrate from Makkah to Madinah. This great event took place in the month of Muharram which changed the destiny of not just the muslims but the whole world.

So for us every year begins with this reminder that if we want to change our destiny then we have to change ourselves. Allah recommends that we should also depart from any place in which we are unable to practice our Deen, and this migration should be for the sake of Allah.

Let’s all analyze ourselves, are we facing any persecution or trials due to our practicing of the Deen? If so, then let’s migrate! However, most of us would say that alhamdulillah, we have freedom of religion, nearby mosques, large congregations for Friday and ‘Eid prayers and we are happy and comfortable in practicing our religion, so why should we migrate? 

But if we have so much freedom and opportunities to act on our religion then why are we not fully committed to it? The difficulty is not external, rather it is within us. We are all slaves to our soul, so let’s migrate, because moving away from sins, is also considered a form of migration. Furthermore, changing our day-to-day habits is also considered a migration. So let’s migrate. 

Let’s migrate from the slavery to our souls to the obedience of Allah (s.w.t.); let’s migrate from lies and falsehood towards speaking and acting on truth. 

Let’s migrate from pride and arrogance to humility and humbleness;

let’s migrate from a complaining attitude to one of patience.

Let’s migrate from laziness to being proactive.

Let’s migrate from depression and gloom to cheerfulness and positive thinking.

Let’s migrate from backbiting to good advice.

Let’s migrate from committing sins to repenting from our sins. 

Let’s migrate from deception to honesty and keeping our trust.

Let’s migrate from anger and rage to pardoning and forgiveness.

Let’s migrate from impatience to patience. Let’s migrate from the fear of people to the fear of Allah.

Every year we establish new year resolutions for ourselves, such as making the best use of our time, or taking Quran classes or teaching others what we know. However, the devil is our biggest enemy who deceives us and prevents us from being productive and makes us waste our time elsewhere.

But instead of wasting even more time in regrets and blames, let us thank Allah that we are still alive and we still have time, so we should all, right now, at this moment, make the intention to free ourselves from the chains of our desires and strengthen our souls by the remembrance and obedience of Allah.

Try your very best and also seek help through heartfelt duas. InshaAllah, Allah (s.w.t.) will appreciate our migration, and He will assist us in the same way as he assisted the Prophet (saw) and just as He opened the doors of mercy for His Beloved Messenger, similarly the doors of mercy will open for us too, inshaAllah! 

We ask Allah (s.w.t.) to save us from the evil of the devil and the weakness of our souls and allow us to perform the best of deeds. Ameen.

Respecting others…

I was listening to a lecture on Muharram and the scholar was emphasizing on the fact that Muharram reminds us of respecting the honour of our fellow Muslims. Then she narrated a Hadith of our Prophet (s.a.w) which stated that the honour of a Muslim is greater than the honour of the Ka’ba.

This statement really shook me from inside and I  felt really really struck… as if by lightening… my heart seemed to just stop as I thought of kaaba and felt the love that seemed to fill my heart and the awe and reverence that we all have for it and yet we are so so so ignorant of the true worth of a human being… we torment and make life miserable for our most near ones… the weak ones… and we back bite and spread bad opinions for the ones who are too strong for us to speak out in front of them… why are we like this? Because we never realize that Allah is not going to accept any good deeds except that we fulfill the rights of people…

How ignorant we are that we think that rights of family are just that I cook and clean for them? How do I talk to them when they irritate me? How do I talk about them to my friends? Do I save their honour? This is something we never ever give importance to… and it’s the same thing which has soured our relationships. When we are yelling to our kids because of some mistake they might have made we never think that his mistake doesn’t earn him an insult… on no account can we attack the self respect of any individual.

If it sounds impractical then just for a moment we can remind ourselves of any incident where someone insulted us… how did that feel? Could any amount of compensation wipe that out of our memory? Can any amount of happiness erase the wounds of the heart created by unkind words or degrading attitude?

So I just pray to Allah to never let us be off guard… May He always help us to remember that the honour of a momin is greater than the honour of the Kaaba… ameen

New Year…

To make new year resolutions take the following steps:

  • Listen to talks or read articles on this topic so that we can have some idea about the most valuable things that we must bring into our lives.

  • Write down the points that inspire you… because the things that you write on paper get printed deeply into your heart and mind.

  • Set goals for all the important areas of your life… e.g. spiritual, mental, physical and social.

  • Make plans of how you are going to achieve these goals… set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly targets.

  • Make daily check lists… accountability is a very important tool for motivation.

  • Keep a time log to see where exactly you are spending your time.

  • Make lots of duas for sincerity of intentions… because the whole structure of your plans depends on this foundation.

  • Make duas for the ability to prioritize your time… for the ability to work hard… and for the courage to make sacrifices.

  • Make good friends that keep you motivated. Or if you do not find such a friend then BECOME such a friend for others… keep listening to good stuff and avoid negative and discouraging people and places. Plus never lose hope… Even if you are disappointed by your lack of commitment or lack of other abilities… be happy that Allah is perfect and He is on your side as long as you keep trying and keep praying… we all tend to slip and fall but our success lies in getting back on our feet and start walking again and again… we all love to be free from mistakes but it is more important to be free from hopelessness and even more crucial is to be free from arrogance… May Allah give us tawfeeq to make good intentions and to work hard… Ameen

Growth despite oppression (part-2)

So here I am with part 2 of the story of the slim tree growing underneath the majestic one… a few days back the bougainvillea on the right was chopped off from the top because it had withered away with cold… and so the view became so gloomy and  empty… do you remember those stems and flowers of that cheerful creeper were all over the slim tree like friends supporting and encouraging it…  and now it seems like the friends have all gone leaving the poor tree alone… I felt so sad… how will it survive? Then I went up to take a closer look and guess what I discovered!!… (read the rest of the story here)

Growth Despite Oppression!!

Today’s story was inspired by this magnificent mango tree which never fails to astonish me with its size and grandeur… so I take a lot of pictures with the hope that maybe one day I might be able to capture its beauty…img-20161230-wa0023

One day as I was pondering over my collection of images I noticed something which I had ignored up till then… Let’s see if you can see it? Take a look… (click here to read the whole story)

See while you can…

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You must know the story of the roses by heart… thanks to my recurring snaps of buds and blooms:)) well a couple of days back when I was about to go out in the garden thinking about that last flower and its progress… I imagined it would be ready to wither away and so i would take a picture of its scattered petals on the ground or something… but imagine my shock when I discovered that the whole top of the rose bush had been chopped off… just like that!!

And with great nostalgia in my heart I felt like seeing this reality for the first time… the reality of how a complete generation becomes dead and gone and forgotten… the buds and the blooms have all become history… each one taught a lesson… each one remained for as long as it was destined to… not a moment less or more… teaching us by their presence… for those who wanted to learn… those who stopped by to ponder over them… 

As for those who didn’t care to see or learn… it was the same for them whether they existed ever or not… 

And if we don’t care for the existence of Allah’s signs then we don’t really care for our own existence too…

Because what are we without Allah’s remembrance? And how will we remember him if not through his signs?