The beautiful Gifts…

Another beautiful memory of my life is from the year 2001, when I heard a beautiful recitation of Surah Al-Waqiah, in the voice of Qari Abdullah Basfar… along with its English translation by Ibrahim Walk… It captivated me so much that I listened to it repeatedly for many days… until it became engraved in my heart… I loved it so much that I began to re-learn the other forgotten surahs too (which I had memorized in 1989)… Ar-Rahman and Yaseen…

But these were done purely by listening… I didn’t have any conscious intention of memorization…

That came later in 2006 when I heard a lecture in which the scholar read a Hadith, that on the day of judgement, the person who learns Quran will be told to recite Quran and climb higher and higher on the levels of Paradise… until he reaches the last ayah that he can recite. So it meant that we can go as high as the number of ayahs we can recite by heart… That really made me sit up… I opened a diary and recorded how many ayahs I knew till then… and then I made a conscious intention to add more and more to this collection…

But having an intention… a strong passion… a yearning to do something… is not enough until we make a solid plan… and even a plan won’t help us reach the destination until we act on it… and it takes a lot of discipline and hard work to do it… which we find difficult in the areas where there is apparently no instant gratification…

That is why it is so important to join a class or at least have a friend to work together. But if you cannot find these, then what to do?

Make a commitment with a virtual teacher… yes that is what I did… in those days we didn’t have smart phones and apps… my only tool was my desktop computer… I downloaded the program of hifz of the 30th Juz, from the website www.imaanstar.com and started doing it step by step, beginning from the last surah and working my way backwards…

But my speed was too slow… and in the last 12 years I have wasted more time in forgetting rather than learning… and this meant spending more time in re-learning the forgotten surahs instead of learning new ones… I take one step forward and go back two steps… why?

Mistakes:

  • Confusing wishful thinking with true intention…

I thought that just because I wished to memorize so much then it will be an automatic thing to take up this activity day after day… But I have realized that wishes can become intentions only after you make a firm commitment… this commitment gives us the ultimate motivation where we don’t take even a single day off… like praying five times a day or keeping the fasts of Ramadan… we just keep doing it no matter what… because we know for sure that it just has to be done…  we don’t even give ourselves any options… so we get things done!!

  • Not sticking to the same time and place…

The problem is that the mind works best only when things are done in a regular pattern. So it is extremely important to stick to the same place, the same mushaf, the same recitor, and same pattern of memorization. Jumping from one thing to the other cannot lead to any worthwhile accomplishment. So we need to fix ourselves in some time slot which cannot be disturbed by any other thing… like the hour before or after fajr…

  • Not doing enough repetition…

The short term memory works fast so we think that we have learned an ayah… but it will not be retained for long term, if we don’t follow up with a lot of repetition.

  • Not giving enough time for revision…

Since it is more enjoyable to learn new ayaat and feels quite tough to revise the previous day’s lesson, I made the mistake of not planning for revision properly.

  • Sleeping after fajr…

I have heard, read, written and discussed this topic so much… that it would seem like I’d be the last person to fall into this mistake… but really this has been one of my greatest weakness. And if I had the chance to re-live my life once more, I would never ever let myself get into this damaging habit. Because to sleep after fajr is to lose all the positive energy which Allah gives to all those who remain awake to receive it… and they use this time for their most important tasks like memorizing, revising and contemplating on the Quran…

The Quran is the greatest blessing of Allah… through its words we seek the pleasure and closeness to Allah… such pleasure and closeness that cannot be had by any other thing… a pleasure that fills the heart and soul with the utmost satisfaction… a shield that protects us from the irritations of life… a soothing balm that heals the wounds of our hearts… a nourishment that makes our souls strong and healthy…

But these blessings of Allah come to us only if we recognize their true worth… and we give up all those things that come in the way… and we plan and work hard to prove our sincerity… May Allah make us worthy of it all… Ameen  

 

My Most favorite Memory…

I wrote an article few days back in which I shared some tips for memorizing Quran… (you can read it here) But those were just a collection from online sources. Later I felt that I should also share my personal experiences… but before I give you a summary of all the plus and minus points of my journey, I want to share another article that I wrote even before I started this blog… in fact this was a letter to my teacher as I embarked upon Surah Al-Waqiah in my course of taleem ul Quran… words that just poured out of my heart… one cold evening in the winters of 2005… 

When I was 20 and my daughter was a few month old, there came on my doorstep a “Madrassa boy” who was holding a few books and asked for charity. I gave him some money and he gave me a small red book. I was not interested but he insisted so I just took it and without looking put it aside. A couple of days afterwards my husband had to go out of town for a week and I was left all alone. I was very afraid of the dark and at night when my daughter was asleep I began to feel terrified that I will die if I go to sleep and what will become of my child. So I just sat on the sofa and tried to pass the time when I saw the same book. I picked it up thinking that it might help. I saw that there were a lot of wazeefas in it and then there were a few Surahs. The first one was Surah Yaseen. I started reading it hoping to dispel my fear. Suddenly I had an idea that if I memorize it then I can read it whenever I feel afraid. So I began to learn 4 Ayat daily along with the translation. It used to give me so much pleasure to try to match the words with their meaning. I couldn’t really comprehend what was behind these words but nevertheless it had a very soothing effect on me. So I decided to continue my HOBBY and learned the next Surah as well which was Surah Rahman. This was also a familiar name. After this there was a new name WAQIA. I had never heard of it so I turned a few pages to see if I could discover a familiar name but there was none that I recognized. So I decided to do Surah Waqiah. As soon as I read the first few lines it had a miraculous effect on me. The scene of the akhirat seemed so real and the way people were being categorized into three parts was awesome. You must understand that I had never heard any tafseer or translation whatsoever. I had always thought that Quran would be just a list of instructions but this was amazing. But the most wonderful Ayat came the next day “WASSABIQOON ASSABIQOON” and I felt like there was someone urging me forward. But I was alone in my excitement even then. And did not know what to do. I was just at the end of this Surah when I had to move out of town for a couple of months. I tried to maintain my routine there but someone told me that I should not memorize the Quran like this without a teacher and when I asked where I will find a teacher I was told to come out of my dreams and live in reality. After all what more do you want? You have a family life. You are well provided for. Look after the house and just have a good time. Meet people make friends. Attend parties, arrange parties, say your prayer once a week and that’s quite enough. And so little by little the passion died away and was replaced by an unknown anxiety and dissatisfaction. I tried to fit in with my lifestyle but could only pretend at the most. I felt like an alien whose language no one understood. I learnt their language but no one spoke mine. At times I remembered that I had memorized three Sarah’s and forgotten them so Allah will punish me for committing this sin.

And then it was the year 2001 when I got a computer and Purely by chance found the recitation of Surah WAQIA by Abdullah basfer and translated in the voice of  Ibrahim Walk. I need not say that I was like a thirsty person in a desert who at last found a stream of cold crystal clear water. I just soaked in the words and listened to it day and night. I re-learned it and even when I was walking or cooking or just sitting in a waiting room or trying to sleep (by that time I had aquired a number of diseases including lack of sleep) I would recite this beautiful Surah. I didn’t even know the word “Tajweed” but because I had copied it so well I was following the rules of Tajweed even without knowing!! One day I thought that maybe I will learn other Surahs too so I wrote an oath to myself in my diary that from now on I am going to learn the Quran and see what Allah has said to us. So from page one I started to spend some time daily trying to match word to word. I made notes and felt really good that at last I was doing something worthwhile. A couple of days later a friend came and asked why I was looking so preoccupied. I told her about my plan and she said that she had some cassettes which she would lend me. So she sent me the set of fahm-ul-quran. When first I listened to these lectures I had a hard time adjusting to it because I came to know for the first time that Quran is not only about enjoying beautiful words and beautiful sounds , rather it is based on commitment and hard work. The standards of a grateful person, A Mohsin, A muttaqi, seemed so far away but then I realized that the sabiqoon are not just pretty people speaking in beautiful accents. And I wanted nothing less than that so I forced myself to do the lessons daily. And here I am today, still a very imperfect person but trying to be good …….. Khurram Murad has so rightly said: “Islam is not a state of being. Rather it’s a state of becoming”

How can I be really Beautiful?

Just like we become favorites of people due to some qualities which they like… and sometimes we spend a lifetime to achieve those qualities for the sake of getting love and appreciation from people. Similarly I found that for achieving the love and appreciation of Allah we need one big quality which seems so simple in words but requires a lot of discipline and conscious effort to implement in our daily lives… and that is ehsaan. Unconditional goodness are just two words but it seems like we need a whole lifetime to learn to apply it. Why is it so difficult? Because we have been programmed into thinking that we will do to people as they deserve… and secondly we have been taught to believe that no one can be better than us… so with these two misconceptions the result that follows is that we don’t think anyone deserves anything better than us… this has caused us to be extremely self centered and over critical about others. We will spare no chance to express our dislike of others and we take every opportunity to sing praises of our own self. With these thoughts deeply engraved in our heart and mind how can we even think of being Muhsinin? Do we think that putting in a few dollars in charity is a big ehsaan on the poor people? Or is feeding our servant the left over food, an ehsaan? 

The fact is that ehsaan is actually the beauty of thoughts… pure and free from all vanity, pure from grudges… And then the deeds which sprout from these thoughts will be truly beautiful and worthy of being appreciated.

But then how will I cure my polluted heart? When will it become free of all contamination? The solution is in making the intention of self purification and then praying to Allah for guiding the heart. It should be our first and foremost dua, that we become pure and sincere slaves of Allah… doing the best that we can… always to win Allah’s appreciation and wanting for other people the same things which we want for our own self…if we want love then we should start loving others. If we want to be respected then we should give others the same respect. If we want our faults to be hidden and forgiven then we should do the same for our servants, children and other people around us. Easier said than done but then what is life but a never ending struggle? So what are we waiting for… lets start now!!

Keep on trying… keep on learning!!

Memorizing Quran is a blessing in itself… just the process of recording the words of Allah in the deepest chambers of my heart is something which fills me with a deep tranquility and satisfaction… But then due to lack of good memory and lack of discipline; I end up forgetting more than I remember and so I re-start the process again and again…

It reminds me of a story I had read when I was in second or third grade… a boy comes late to school and when the teacher demands an explanation he said that the path to school was very muddy due to the rain and so whenever he took a step forward he slipped back two feet… you would think that such a child would not reach the school because at some point he will give up trying… but he did make it after all… better late than never!! So it gives me hope that the essence of success is in trying and not giving up!!

And through this whole process of learning and forgetting… I have discovered that the benefits of Quran are so miraculous that even forgetting is a blessing… how is that?? well the answer is that every time I re-learn a surah my feelings are completely different and I see the words in a totally different light than before… Just yesterday I thought I should try and recite Al-Qalam (which is the 68th surah in the 29th juz) in the zuhr prayer. As I reached near the end I began to feel exhausted and wanted to end it there but then I decided to carry on and complete it anyway… and suddenly as I recited the ayaat about Prophet Younus (a.s) I felt like a totally new door of enlightenment had opened up for me and I was so amazed how I never saw it before in all the years I have been reading the Quran and especially in memorizing it I must have repeated these verses hundreds of times and yet I never saw this one point which seemed to fill my heart with the joy of experiencing a closeness to Allah through understanding His words… a joy which can be felt but not something that can be described in words…

Allah says:

فَاصْبِرْ لِحُكْمِ رَبِّكَ وَلَا تَكُنْ كَصَاحِبِ الْحُوتِ إِذْ نَادَىٰ وَهُوَ مَكْظُومٌ {48}

So wait with patience for the Command of your Lord, and be not like the Companion of the Fish,- when he cried out in agony.

لَوْلَا أَنْ تَدَارَكَهُ نِعْمَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّهِ لَنُبِذَ بِالْعَرَاءِ وَهُوَ مَذْمُومٌ {49}

Had it not been that the favour from his Lord had reached him he would indeed have been cast off into the wilderness of the shore, in disgrace.

فَاجْتَبَاهُ رَبُّهُ فَجَعَلَهُ مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ{50}

But his Lord chose him and placed him among the company of the righteous.

We have all heard about this amazing miracle of Allah which was experienced by Prophet Younus (a.s.) when he was swallowed by a fish and when he made dua Allah made him come out of the fish onto the sea shore… and through this story we learn the lesson that even we are in such a deep problem, we should still not lose hope because if we repent sincerely and ask Allah for help then surely he can take us out of any trouble even if it is from deep down the ocean… even if it is from the belly of a fish…

But the amazing lesson which I learnt this time… is that to come out of a problem is not the end rather the real blessing is when Allah chooses a person for righteous deeds and joins him among the righteous people…

This lesson is so important for us because most of the time when we ask Allah to relieve us from a difficulty, all we think is that if we can just get out of this problem or that then we will really be blessed and all will be well… but no… we should not forget that the real blessing is not just to cross the various obstacles of life… rather we should ask Allah to bless us with opportunities to lead a righteous life and to be joined with righteous people both in this life and the next… because that in fact is the real favour which Allah bestows on those who seek it, who yearn for it, who work for it and who beg Allah for it day and night… therefore it is only for such people that the trials of life become easy to bear because their focus is on something much higher than merely leading a smooth and comfortable life… May Allah make us of those who stuggle to achieve the real success… ameen

Cooking Lessons!!

In my life as a housewife I have discovered that the routine act of cooking not only fulfils its obvious purpose of feeding me and my family; rather it allows me to think deeply and ponder upon various things… and if I am lucky I sometimes get amazing answers to the various problems of life.

Yesterday when I was just in the beginning process of frying onions and waiting for them to get the right colour before I could add the spices and all… I was looking at the fire and suddenly this question popped up from nowhere… why had Allah made this fire for us as a tool to cook and heat things. After all He could have devised a safer thing for us to use. Why this fire which can burn us if we are not careful? And then I began to cut some vegetables and I looked at the knife and thought why Allah made this knife as a tool for cutting. Obviously He has enough power to create some other means for us to use? Something not as dangerous as a knife which can cut my hand too…

And then my thoughts went from one thing to the other and found that most of the means we use are quite dangerous too… like water which can drown people… air that can destroy houses… electricity which can kill just by a touch… airplanes that can crash and ships that can sink…

All these things and many others too… so essential for reaching our objectives but so dangerous too… seemed to give me an important message… but what was it?

After a while I understood that Allah has not created anything without a purpose. He could have created something safe and cold to cook upon… but He allowed us to see that even the most dangerous thing as a fire or electricity can become beneficial if Allah allows it to be so.

Also it taught me that just as following the right precautions allows me to get the benefit from the fire and not be harmed by it. Similarly while dealing with difficult people we should seek Allah’s help and use the best manners of talking and dealing with them so that we can enjoy their good qualities and not be harmed by their sharp edges.

Mostly we give this excuse that we cannot have peaceful relationships because people are so harsh or bitter… but cooking for so many years has taught me that the right spices and the right recipe can transform bitter gourds into a delicious dish and even the harsh chillies can add flavour and taste… if used in the right quantity at the right time!

Allah could have made all the people sweet and perfect to be with… all the tools harmless and safe to use… but then where would have been the test? Why would we be rewarded?

Therefore our fears and apprehensions about things and people can be wiped out if only we can learn to fear Allah who controls them… and focus our attention on using the best strategies and the best recipes!!

May Allah save us from the fire of this world and also from the much worse fire of the Hereafter… ameen

The Most Valuable Deed…

Umar radi Allahu anhu once stood on the pulpit and addressed the community with a loud powerful voice saying, “A man may grow old in Islam and never have completed for Allah a single salah!” They said, “How is this?” He said, “He does not perfect his concentration, nor his humbleness, nor his focus on Allah ‘azza wa jall.”

Some practical guidelines to help us attain concentration and humbleness in salah:

  1. Come early for salah and prepare yourself to concentrate.

Repeat the adhan to yourself with the mu’adhdhin and after the adhan, say the prescribed supplication. Between the adhan and iqamah make du’a. Do wudu properly, cleansing your mouth, and wear your finest clothes.

  1. Aim to get the entire reward of your salah.

    Abu Bakr ibn ‘Iyaash said, “I saw Habeeb ibn Thabit in sujood. If you saw him you would think he was dead (by how long he held his sujood).”

  2. Contemplate the aayaat and adhkaar being recited during the prayer.

Think about the meanings of the verses that you are reciting. Isn’t is disheartening that someone may perform salah for decades, day after day, and he still does not know what he is saying? The Qur’an was revealed to be pondered over! Allah revealed:

(This is) a Book (the Qur’an), which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its verses, and that men of understanding may remember (As-Saad 38/29).

  1. Pray in congregation. Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala commands:

    And perform salah, give zakah, and bow with those that bow (Al-Baqarah 2/43).

  2. Never miss your Nafl (supererogatory) Prayers,especially those that the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam used to pray constantly, like Witr and the Sunnah of Fajr.

  3. Do not rush your salah.

    Take your time and do not allow your salah to become the most invaluable action of your day. Ibn Wahb said, “I saw Ath-Thowree at the Ka’bah. After Maghrib, he got up to pray and then prostrated. He did not come out of that prostration until the adhan for Isha’ was given.”

  4. Know that Allah responds to your prayer.The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said:

“Allah, the Blessed and Exalted has said: ‘I have divided the prayer between Myself and My slave, into two halves, and My slave shall have what he has asked for.’ When the slave says, ‘Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds,’ Allah says, ‘My slave has praised Me.’ When the slave says, ‘The Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy,’ Allah says, ‘My slave has extolled me.’ When the slave says, ‘Master of the Day of Judgment,’ Allah says, ‘My slave has glorified me.’ When the slave says, ‘It is You alone we worship and it is You alone we ask for help,’ Allah says, ‘This is between Me and My slave, and My slave shall have what he asked for.’ When the slave says, ‘Guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom You have favoured, not the path of those who receive Your anger, nor of those who go astray,’ Allah says, ‘All these are for My slave, and My slave shall have what he asked for’” (Muslim).

  1. Pray with a barrier (sutrah) in front of you and pray close to it.

Another thing that will help you to have khushoo’ (concentration) is paying attention to the matter of having a sutrah and praying close to it. Having a sutrah will restrict your field of vision, protect you from the Shaytaan, and keep people from passing in front of you, which causes distraction and reduces the reward of the prayer. The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said:
“When any one of you prays, let him pray facing a sutrah, and let him get close to it” (Abu Dawood).

  1. Seek refuge in Allah from the Shaytaan.

    The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam taught us how to combat the whispers of Shaytaan. Abu’l-‘Aas radi Allahu anhu reported that he said, “O Messenger of Allaah, the Shaytaan interrupts me when I pray, and I get confused in my recitation.” The Messenger of Allah sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said, “That is a shaytaan whose name is Khanzab. If you sense his presence, seek refuge with Allah from him, and spit towards your left three times.” Abu’l-‘Aas rahi Allahu anhu said, “I did that and Allah took him away from me” (Muslim).

  2. Pray as if you were told that after salah you would be going back to Allah. Abu Bakr Al-Muzanee said, “If you want your salah to benefit you, then say, ‘I shall die after this Salah!’”

Provisions…

🌴🌸🌴🌸🌴
🍁 خير الارزاق 🍁
The Best Provisions

✨ الرزق الذي تملكه وفي أي لحظة
یاخذه مولي منك
The provisions which you have… the ones which at any moment can be taken back by the owner who have gave them to you
” إذا هو ليس بدائم وليس في حوزتك “
Then these are not permanent… nor are they in your control
شهادتك سيارتك وظيفتك زوجتك أولادك ….. كلها أرزاق مؤقتة ..
Your qualification certificates… your vehicles… your salary… your spouse… your children… all of these are provisions given for a specific time period
🍁 أما الرزق الدائم :
But the permanent provisions
فهو الرزق الذي يكون حليفك إلى يوم يبعثون ..
This is the Rizq which will be your supporting friend till the day you are resurrected…
إستيقاظك والناس نيام لتصلي ركعتين هذا رزق
Your getting up in the night… forsaking your sleep… so that you may pray two rakahs… this is that Rizq (provision)
ذهابك للحج والعمرة هذا رزق .
Your going for hajj and umrah… this is Rizq
صلاة الضحى رزق .
The prayer of duha ( forenoon) this is Rizq
خدمة والديك وطاعتهم رزق .
حفظك للقران رزق .
Being dutiful and obedient to your parents is Rizq
And your memorization of the Qur’an is Rizq
خشوعك في الصلاه رزق ….. وهكذا .
Your khushu (focus, humbleness and submission) in your prayers is Rizq
And likewise in other deeds…
فلا تجعل أرزاقك المؤقتة تشغلك وتنسيك ….
So do not let your temporary provisions absorb you and make you forgetful ( about the real permanent provisions)

🍁سيكون يوما سعيدا عندما تبعث وترى الملائكة في انتظارك تتلقاك
Soon there will be a fortunate day in which you will be raised and you will see the angels waiting to meet you

(وَتتلقاهم ُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ هَذَا يَوْمُكمُ الَّذِي كنتم تُوعَدُونَ )
(And the angels will meet them saying: this is your day about which was promised to you)

🍁سيكون يوما رائعا
عندما تطلقها صرخة في العالمين من الفرح .
Soon there will be a beautiful day when your joyful exclamation will be echoed in the worlds…

( هَاؤم اقرءُوا كِتَابِيَه )
(Here… read my book!!)

🍁سيكون يوما سعيدا عندما تنظر خلفك وترى ذريتك تتبعك لمشاركتك فرحتك .
Soon there will be a day of fortune when you will look behind and you will see your children joining in your happiness
(أَلْحَقْنَا بِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ )
“And we will join them with their children”

🍁سيكون يوما في غاية الروعة
وأنت تمشي ولأول مرة في زمرة المرضي عنهم .
Soon there will be a day of terrible fear… but you will be wAlking among those with whom Allah will be pleased…

(يومَ لَا يُخْزِي اللَّهُ النَبِيَّ وَالذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ نُورُهُم يَسْعَىٰ بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ )
“That day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet (s.a.w) and the people who accepted faith with him… their light will be rusing forth ahead of them”

🍁سيكون يوما جميلا عندما تكون ضيفا مرغوبا وتسمع نداءً خاصا لك ( ادخل)
Soon there will be a beautiful day in which the guests will be honoured and you will hear a call especially for yourself… enter!!
( ادْخُلوا الْجَنَةَ أنتُمْ وَأَزوَاجُكمْ )
“Enter you in the paradise… you and your spouses”

🍁ستكون اسعد الناس عندما يكون رفيقك هناك
محمد وموسى وعيسى ونوح وإبراهيم عليهم أفضل الصلاة والسلام .
Soon you will be the most fortunate of people when your companions there will be Muhammad(s.a.w) and Musa and Eesa and Nuh and Ibrahim (upon them be the most noble blessings and peace)
( فَأولَئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَبِيِينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ وَحَسُنَ أُولَٰئِكَ رَفِيقا )

“Then these will be with those upon whom Allah showered his favours… from the Prophets, the truthful ones, the martyrs and the righteous… and how excellent are these companions”
🍁هناك ستتذكر ما تلوته هنا .
There you will remember what you used to recite over here…
{ أَفَمَن وَعَدْنَاهُ وَعْدًا حَسَنًا فَهُوَ لَاقِيهِ كمن متعنَاهُ مَتَاعَ الحيَاةِ الدنيَا ثم هُوَ يَوْمَ القِيَامه ِ مِنَ الْمُحْضَرِينَ }
” so then is it possible that a person who was given a good promise and then he got his fulfilment, be made equal with someone who was given some benefit in this world and then on the day of qiyamah he will be among the punishable”

🌴أسعدكم الله في الدارين
May Allah make you successful in both worlds… Ameen

منقول من صفحة د. طارق تركي