In Service to the Book of Allah – Sheikh Muhammad Ayub

QuranPage

By Ejaz Taj

It was at Fajr time this morning; I received the sad news about the passing of our beloved Sheikh Muhammad Ayub from his son in Madinah. He was a man whose life was in service to the Book of Allah (swt) and its teaching – from his earliest days to his final moments before returning to his Lord. He was born in a poor Burmese migrant family living in Makkah, in 1952. His family had fled oppression against Muslims in their native Burma. His childhood was difficult. Being the eldest of his siblings, he had to work to provide for his family (as his father was imprisoned in Burma). At the same time, he attended his daily Hifz classes in Makkah.

At that time, there were very few roads developed, and no tunnels were constructed through the mountains that we see today. The Sheikh mentioned in a rare interview that his daily journey used to be on foot to the Masjid where he studied; his route involved ascending and descending two steep hills, between which were wild dogs and other desert creatures. This is a testament to his dedication from a young age in this era of Skype classes from the comfort of our bedrooms.

As he grew older, he showed a great aptitude for the recitation of the Quran – impressing his teacher Sheikh Khaleel-ur-Rahman, who held in a high standard. The Sheikh accompanied his teacher wherever he went, practising and perfecting his recitation.

In the year 1410 AH (1990), the Sheikh had just been given the position of Imam in Masjid Quba. The head Imam of Masjid Nabawi at that time, Sheikh Abdul Aziz As-Salih, was informed of a new Imam by the name of Muhammad Ayub in Masjid Quba who was known for his beautiful voice and excellent skill in recitation. Sheikh Abdul Aziz, towards the end of Shaban, summoned Muhammad Ayub to a gathering. In the end, he called him to sit next to him in front of everyone and asked him to recite. The Sheikh, unsure of what exactly was happening, proceeded to recite, something that was as natural to him as breathing; he managed to impress everyone in the gathering by his eloquent recitation. Sheikh Abdul Aziz, taken aback, immediately said to him (with only a few days notice before the start of Ramadan) “You will be leading Taraweeh in the Masjid of the Messenger of Allah (sa).” Dazed and unable to believe what had just happened, he prepared himself for the great moment.

He said about his first night in the Mihrab of the Prophet’s (sa) Masjid: “My heart was racing and my ears were buzzing. My hands were shaking uncontrollably from the greatness of where I stood and in remembrance of those who stood here before me. I sought refuge with Allah (swt) and proceeded.” He also said: “Every single time I stood at the Mihrab of the Messenger of Allah (sa), I was filled with intense awe and a deep fear; fear that I would not be able to do justice to this great position, nor fulfil this heavy responsibility on my shoulders.”

In his first year as Imam, he led all twenty Rakahs of Taraweeh alone for the entire Ramadan apart from three days. This feat was matched only by one other Imam of the Haram Sheikh Ali Jabir in Masjid Haram (who was a close friend of his and over whom he led the Janazah). His teacher Sheikh Khaleel-ur-Rahman was away when Sheikh Muhammad Ayub got appointed as an Imam and only found out when he heard his student on the live radio broadcast from Masjid Nabawi. He would then call him every day, pray for him, and remind him of the importance of sincerity.

The Sheikh continued to lead the Taraweeh and Tahajjud in the Haram till 1417 after which he was removed. He spent a few years leading at Masjid Quba and various other Masajid. He moved on to teaching Tafseer at the Islamic University until his retirement in 2014. The Sheikh travelled extensively delivering lectures and study programmes on Arabic Language, Quran, Aqeedah, and Fiqh in places such as Pakistan, Malaysia, India, Senegal, and Turkey. Green Lane Masjid in Birmingham hosted him in the 90s where the Sheikh led the Taraweeh prayers.

After his retirement, the Sheikh took on a handful of dedicated Huffadh, who he would listen to in order to give them Ijazah, daily in Masjid Nabawi, until he passed away. Despite his ill health, he did this daily and never failed to show up, often listening to four students simultaneously while stopping and correcting each one. This is something that I witnessed personally. He would then head back to his Masjid where he led Isha and Fajr every day.

He holds a very unique position in the world of Quran reciters; respected widely by the Qurra from all backgrounds and nationalities. He had a massive impact on reciters in Saudi Arabia in general being a master of the Hijazi style which, by his aptitude and position at Masjid Nabawi, became very popular. Mishary Rashid, in a show about the biographies of modern day Qurra, said about the Sheikh: “He was the Mustafa Ismail of the Arabian Peninsula; he was far more influential in shaping the recitation of many reciters, and Imam of Masajid in that region than anyone else.” Today, he is widely imitated, even in the Haramain with Imam, such as:

Abdullah Johani, Bandar Baleela, Ahmad Talib Hameed and Khalid Al-Ghamidi, in both Makkah and Madinah, demonstrating deep influence by him, as they studied the Quran themselves.

He maintained a sadness that remained with him after no longer being appointed to lead at Masjid Nabawi in 1417 AH. The Sheikh mentioned in an interview when asked about his wishes for the future that he hoped he would be given the opportunity to lead in the Prophet’s (sa) Masjid one last time before he returns to Allah (swt). His Dua was answered as he was appointed one last time to lead the Taraweeh in the final Ramadan of his life in 1436 AH (2015) before returning to His Lord at Fajr 9th Rajab 1437 AH (16th April 2016).

I was blessed to meet the Sheikh a number of times. I felt honoured praying behind him in Ramadan 2015, and again just two weeks ago before his passing, in Masjid Nabawi as he sat and listened to his students. His final words to me were:

“The Arabic language is not difficult. Had it been as such, we would not have been able to memorise and learn the Book of Allah (swt), as it has been today from East to West.”

The Janazah was held on the 16th of April 2016 after Dhuhr in Masjid Nabawi. The Sheikh had thirteen children: five sons and eight daughters. The men are all Huffadh and well-accomplished within their fields; and a handful of the women are Huffadh, some still memorising, and also well studied in their respective fields.

May Allah (swt) raise him in rank in the hereafter; and may He allow the Book to which he dedicated his life to intercede for him in the grave and on Qiyamah. May Allah (swt) join him with the Messenger of Allah (sa), Abu Bakr (rta), Umar (rta), Uthman (rta), Ali (rta), and all those of the righteous with whom he shared the Imamat of that blessed Masjid throughout history, in the Akhirah. Ameen.

Preserve Your Iman in Dunya

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Where does Iman stand in the life of a believer? When you realize the purpose of this life, Iman stands first in the priority list. All worldly relationships are temporary. The only matter we will be concerned about as we breathe our last, lie in the grave, and stand on the Day of Judgement, will be our Iman.

To spend a righteous life, we need to polish, nourish, cleanse, and purify our Iman. Only after that will we be able to lead a pure life of Taqwa.

Dunya is full of temptations, but there are certain wonderful tips which can help keep our Iman fresh and everlasting. Here are some of them:

Dua

Talk to Allah (swt). Have indepth conversations with Him. When we supplicate to Allah (swt), we should follow the way of the prophets. If we ponder over the starting verses of Surah Maryam (the supplication of Prophet Zakariya (as)), we can learn the art of presenting our problems and needs in front of Allah (swt) in the most beautiful way. Prophet Zakariya (as) talked to Allah (swt), telling Him his entire situation, including the minute details. He did not hand to Allah (swt) a list of desires and needs. Instead, he talked and discussed the things because he loved Allah (swt) and had a strong relationship with Him.

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How to develop Love for Quran in our children?

child-quranChild-rearing is an enormous responsibility, and it is considered leverage upon parents in terms of what they teach their child; this is revealed when they grow up, and operate as adult individuals within the society.
Al-Ghazali once wrote, ‘The child, is a trust (placed by God) in the hands of his parents, and his innocent heart is a precious element capable of taking impressions.’


It is, therefore, obligatory upon the Muslim parents that they base their nurturing upon the grounds of providing sufficient worldly and Islamic education- one that reveals unto the young minds the mysteries of their existence, and facilitates them to evaluate the purpose for which they were created.
Quran is the Holy Book which is kept aside in the modern age. This age of information technology and innovative equipments has resulted in people prioritizing their worldly competition and recreation over the fundamental devotion to Allah (swt). It is now bound upon the people of this Ummah to rise and summon those who have lost the message. This revival begins from our own sanctuaries. It is mandatory upon us as parents to shatter this predicament that the Ummah is facing. To release the Ummah from the shackles of wreckage, it is gravely required that the upcoming generation is aware of their responsibility and the pathway that they are expected to follow. For this, it is crucial that the parents play their designated role in conveying unto their kids, the importance of the Holy Book and the message it delivers. This can be done through some ways enumerated below:

  • Make Dua: God created mankind in such a fashion that they cannot fulfill any of their desires unless He himself commands for those to become true. Parents may plan out many things for their beloved children, but it all becomes worthless if Allah (swt) denies those plans. He is the best of planners, and thus, it is vital that parents make Dua for their children to be convicted Muslims, even before they enter this Dunya.
    You may recite Quranic Duas, the ones recited by Hazrat Maryam (as) or Hazrat Zakariya (as). There are plenty other supplications mentioned in the Quran. For example,
    “And those who say: “Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Muttaqun.” (Al-Furqan 25:74)

The believers must place their trust in Allah (swt), and ask Him for pious children, the ones who will eventually end up as infinite Sadaqah-e-Jariah for them. According to a Hadeeth:

“There are three supplications that are answered – there being no doubt about it: the supplication of the oppressed, the supplication of the traveler and the supplication of the parent for his child.” (Ibn Majah)

  • Recite Quran to the unborn:  In this age of modern sciences, doctors are encouraging the expectant parents to directly converse with their unborn child as this has been witnessed to have profound effects on the baby’s intellectual advancement.
    The sound which the unborn child predominantly hears is the voice of their mother, is there a better sound for a baby to hear than the Divine words?
    It is the spoken word (كلام) of Allah (swt). This spoken word has been termed as light (نور), mercy (رَحمَةً), guidance (هُدًى) and a means of healing (شفآء), in the Quran itself.
  • Recite Quran around your children: Quran has a positive impact on hearts, whether it is babies or adults. Therefore, reading aloud Quran around your newborn or playing recitations in the household will culminate in amazing optimistic response from the baby. You may notice a considerable deceleration in the incessant ranting of your toddler. The profound effect of these words makes a child peaceful. This will also let them get used to the Holy words and develop an acquaintance with those words.
    Make sure that your words are clear to them; you may notice your toddlers synchronizing their lips along with you.
  • Read Quranic translation with your kids: Once your child enters into the age where they are able to read and understand, you may practice contemplating over the meaning of the Quran along with them. Make those sessions interesting by recreational activities, asking questions and using the language which they would easily understand. Also, ensure that these sessions are short and precise. Long sessions tend to bore the child and result in opposite effects.
    Let them know about the mercy of Allah (swt) and the blissful gardens awaiting them, and the actions which may lead them there.
  • Take them along to mosques and religious gatherings: Once your child has reached the age where he/she has developed the sense that it is mandatory to stay silent in mosques and other religious gatherings, allow them to accompany you at every local Dars or religious congregation, enabling them to attain an attachment with the religion.
  • Admit them into schools which focus on imparting Quranic education: Schooling is one really vital phase of a child’s life. The learning they acquire in this phase accompanies them throughout their lives. Thus, it must be assured that children are admitted in those schools which include Quran in their curriculum rather than keeping it aside as an extra-curricular activity. All your efforts at home will fail if the school denies the importance of Quranic knowledge.
    Such decision may result in compromising the high-level education provided by other schools, but you may notice extremely astounding results of religious schooling, too. A child absorbs more when he/she is studying with children of same age group.
    Allah (swt) is with those who make sacrifices for His sake, you will find your child at elevated levels of Dunya and Akhirah, Insha’Allah!
  • Aid your child in memorization of Quran A child’s brain is like a sponge, absorbing all it witnesses. You may desire your child to become a Hafiz some day, start functioning on this dream from the very young age of your child.
    One handy tip could be, using the bed time as recitation time, that is, repeatedly recite a portion of Quran with your child for several days. Begin with some short Surah, it would end up in your child reciting these Surahs fluently Insha’Allah.
    You may use several other encouragement techniques in accordance with the age and intellect of your child.

Remember that, you are the one responsible for the initiation of a Quranic pathway for your children. Be a role-model for them and make them realize the importance of Holy Book in our lives. Nothing can be a better Sadaqah-e-Jariah for a person than his offspring.

Top Five Ways to Maintain a Strong Connection with Allah (swt)

asking allahIf the hustle and bustle of this life is weakening our connection with Allah (swt) or if we are disconnected from Him (swt) and feeling frustrated, then we need to engage ourselves in His worship. “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Rad 13:28) Connection with Allah (swt) is as important for us as water is important for the plants. Allah’s (swt) remembrance and worship nourishes our faith and keeps us on straight path. Here are some top ways to foster a strong connection with our Rabb (swt).

1. Salah with Presence of Mind

  • Try to plan the Salah. We need to plan our meeting with Allah (swt) – just the way we plan our worldly meetings.
  • Every night before sleeping, build a strong and sincere intention to perform an excellent Salah the next day.
  • Every morning, the first thought should be the thought of performing each Salah on time. Presence of mind comes when we understand the meanings of the words we recite daily in our Salah. While reciting Surah al-Fatihah, ponder over the meanings. Just think about it: you are praising the Lord of the lords. You are talking to the king of the worlds.
  • Try to memorize new Surahs. Start with short ones.
  • Supplicate after Adhan. Try to answer the Adhan and supplicate to Allah (swt) for solace.
  • Avoid distractions.
  • Decide which Surahs you are going to recite. Pray Salah calmly and consciously.

2. Reciting and Understanding the Quran

  • Recite the Quran with understanding; read its translation and Tafseer.
  • Act upon the Quran.
  • Share the knowledge with your family and friends.
  • Open the Quran and know what Allah (swt) is telling us. Read about Him, the author of the best book of the world. Read about the Author Who is in love with the readers.
  • Personalize your Quran, where you can highlight your favourite verses and Duas.
  • If you don’t understand Arabic, get a Quran with translation. Make sure that your children have their personal Quran.

3. Supplication

  • Seek Allah (swt) through supplication. Converse with him. Praise him. Talk to him about every small and big thing. Cry before him. Tell him about how much you need him. The one who cries before Allah (swt) does not need to cry before anyone else.
  • Make Allah (swt) your best friend. No friend in the world can be as loyal as Allah (swt) is. He loves His creation seventy times more than a mother loves her child. He is closer to you than your jugular vein.
  • Keep Allah (swt) in your mind, every second. Talk to him in your heart, every moment. Allah (swt) even hears the whispers. Remember! Allah’s (swt) love is the most guaranteed love.

4. Repentance

Allah (swt) loves those who repent. Let’s be in the list of those whom Allah (swt) loves. Let’s please the Creator with the act that He loves the most. Allah (swt) waits for us to repent.  Let’s put off the burden of our sins. Repent repeatedly each day. Don’t let the sins accumulate. Every sin puts a black dot on the heart, and we need to wash our heart constantly.

5. Gratitude to Allah

Take a pen and a paper and start writing down Allah’s (swt) blessings. We would surely have a never-ending list. Keep adding things to the list every day. Every breath is His blessing. How much ungratefulness we show when we complain to Allah (swt), disregarding all the blessings that He has bestowed upon us. We need to be grateful to Him for the smallest things that He has given us. His greatest blessing is that He has chosen us to be Muslims. Be grateful to Him for the guidance that He has given us.

May Allah (swt) enable us to maintain a strong connection with Him always. Ameen

She Struggled to Read the Quran

quran2My Quran Reflections Journal
Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

Day 18 Reflection

(Al-Baqarah 2:121)

Last week, I met a lady at Al Huda Institute, Canada. She was struggling to read Surah Al-Fatihah just like a child begins to read: letter by letter. She fumbled, made mistakes and stammered… but didn’t give up. She kept on trying to read the Ayahs one by one till the end. Seeing her determination and sincerity, I asked her with tears in my eyes, if she was a revert. Her answer was affirmative. She asked me how I had guessed it. I told her that it was obvious, gave her a warm hug and congratulated her. She was amazed by my welcome, while I was stunned by her love for her newly adopted religion, Subhan’Allah!

She told me she could recite the Surah verbally but just couldn’t read it. Excited to have found somebody, who could understand her dilemma, she started reciting Al-Fatihah. How beautifully she recited, Masha’Allah!  She didn’t even know the translation or meaning of it; yet, there was such depth in her voice and shine in her eyes, which I cannot express in words. I was mesmerized. I didn’t even notice that tears started to flow out of our eyes at the same time. Such is the power of Allah’s (swt) Book, Masha’Allah. After finishing the recitation, she told me that she was learning to read the Quran there at Al Huda.

Ashamed, I thought to myself that so many of us take for granted the ability to read Quran. And there was an exemplary revert sister (formerly Christian), who was doing her best to learn to read the language of Allah (swt). It gave me goosebumps and reminded of the following verse:

“Those (who embraced Islam from Bani Israel) to whom We gave the Book [the Taurat (Torah)] [or those (Muhammad’s Peace be upon him companions) to whom We have given the Book (the Quran)] recite it (i.e. obey its orders and follow its teachings) as it should be recited (i.e. followed), they are the ones that believe therein. And whoso disbelieves in it (the Quran), those are they who are the losers.” (Al-Baqarah 2:121)

Upgrade Your Akhirah

ladderofsuccessMy Quran Reflections Journal – 7
Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

Day 13 Reflection
(Al-Baqarah 2:63-73)

Today we studied in depth meaning of the beautiful, short and concise Dua of prophet Musa (as), which reached us through verse 67 of this Surah: “Aoodhu billahi an akoona min al-jahileen” (“I take Allah’s refuge from being among Al-Jahilin (the ignorant or the foolish”).

This Dua gave me goose bumps, Subhan’Allah! How Jahil was I thus far? And how ignorant can one act even after acquiring all the knowledge that is in the Quran!

One needs to look beyond the dire need of reciting the Quran, reading its translation, understanding its explanation, beautifying one’s recitation of it and finally implementing its teachings in one’s life, Bi Izn Allah (by Allah’s permission), only because one is born a Muslim. In fact, this Quran will be a source of our upgrading in the Akhirah, Insha’Allah.

Let’s resolve to provide ourselves with the spiritual nourishment, which is absolutely vital to our existence and essential for the contentment and health of our heart, soul and our bodies as well.

May Allah (swt) make us from the people of the Book and protect us from being Jahilin (the ignorant ones). Ameen.

Pearls of Peace – An extract from Surah Araaf

pearlsWith this message we begin Surah Al-Araf. Allah (swt) says, (This is the) Book (the Quran) sent down unto you (O Muhammad (sa)), so let not your breast be narrow there from, that you warn thereby, and a reminder unto the believers.” (Al-Araf 7:2) How fortunate we are that we have the Quran, which is an anti-depressant; yet how selfish we are that we do not communicate its gems and wonders with our friends and families. We recite the Quran, learn it, preserve it in our hearts and keep the knowledge to ourselves. The Prophet (sa) said, “The best among you is the one who learns the Quran and teaches it.” (Bukhari) If someone informed us that there is a university where from if we graduated we will get $150,000 per month we would have rushed to enrol ourselves in it. The Prophet (sa) is calling us to something better and we are not moved.

We have read Harry Potter and other similar books. We wait for their launch and fantasize the stories; but have we also read the Quran? If we have not read the Quran ourselves, how can we teach it to others and be amongst the best? This is the Book of Allah (swt), the word of the Creator which we have not even attempted to learn. That is why we don’t have peace in our lives.

We need to be careful of the devil’s plot. Shaytan says, “Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (i.e. they will not be dutiful to You).” (Al-Araf 7:17) He beautifies sins for us and makes us fall for them. May Allah (swt) bless us the insight to distinguish between the straight path and the trap of Shaytan. Ameen.

Adam (as) and the treachery of Shaytan

Allah (swt) then mentions the story of Adam (as) that how he lost a certain place in Paradise due to the treachery of Shaytan. This teaches us an important lesson: if we fall for Shaytan, Allah (swt) will take away the blessing that He gave us. In this story, we also learn about clothing; which is both an adornment and a covering.

Clothe with piety

When we are invited to our friend’s house or some renowned politician, businessman or anyone famous, we pick up the best clothes that we can. We make sure our hair and our accessories are in order. We check ourselves out several times in the mirror before leaving the house. But how do we approach Salah? When the Maker of everything invites us to stand before Him for a private conversation that guarantees us everything that we desire, what clothes or condition are we in? Sometimes for Fajr Salah, we simply roll out of our beds, throw water on our face, perform a quick Wudhu and stand up in prayer in our sleeping pyjamas. Is that an attitude of gratitude towards Him Who rewards one good deed up to ten times?

Allah (swt) says, “O O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes), while praying and going round (the Tawaf of) the Ka’bah, and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifun (those who waste by extravagance).” (Al-Araf 7:31) Do not be extravagant in your clothing. When one looks today at the prices of bridal and semi-formal clothing, he wonders where the money is coming from. An ordinary dress with trimmings of silk or Banarsi fabric and some embellishments is priced at 50,000 rupees or even more. Lawn which was the clothing of common people is now sold at Rs. 6,000. Allah (swt) says, “And the raiment of righteousness, that is better.” (Al-Araf 7:26)

Not only should the clothing be sanely priced, but also, it should serve the purpose for which it was created. And that is “covering”. Too tight, too short, too revealing is not the clothing of people of Taqwa. If Salah is not accepted in such clothes, how can one step out of their house wearing those welcoming gazes of strange men?

Choose the appropriate attire

If one has to shed their clothing in order to appear attractive in front of others, then they should know twenty years later, they will not have the same appearance. So why not attract people by your character and Taqwa, instead of superficial things? If we dress up according to how Allah (swt) commands us, we will, Insha’Allah, attract those who are best for us in the Sight of Allah (swt). Who doesn’t want a righteous companion? Everyone does! The righteous companion pushes us to give our very best to Allah (swt). Thus, let us not attract the filth and dress appropriately instead.

Allah (swt) has promised us that He will send messages and reminders to us in various forms. Some fortunate ones lived in the midst of the messengers. For later generations, there were people who had acquired knowledge from the messengers and disseminated it to others. And that is how it reached us.

What should be our attitude towards Allah’s (swt) messages?

Allah (swt) says, “O Children of Adam! If there come to you Messengers from amongst you, reciting to you, My Verses, and then whosoever becomes pious and righteous, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Al-Araf 7:35)

Two actions are required: Taqwa and reform. By being conscious of Allah (swt) and rectifying our faults, we will be free from anguish.

Dialogue between the dwellers of paradise and hellfire

Then we learn about a dialogue that takes place between the people of hellfire and the people of Paradise: “And the dwellers of the Fire will call to the dwellers of Paradise: Pour on us some water or anything that Allah has provided you with. They will say: Both (water and provision) Allah has forbidden to the disbelievers.” (Al-Araf 7:50)

What actions lead to hellfire?

Allah (swt) says, “Who took their religion as an amusement and play, and the life of the world deceived them. So this Day We shall forget them as they forgot their meeting of this Day, and as they used to reject Our verses (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.).” (Al-Araf 7:51) Materialism took over them. They were more attached to the material things than to their Maker. The love of Allah (swt) should exceed our love for every other being or thing. People who have taken religion as play and amusement, have chosen to ignore Allah (swt) (may Allah (swt) protect us). Hence, on the Day of Resurrection, Allah (swt) will disregard them.

How does one ignore Allah (swt)?

By not abiding to His rules and regulations, by not abstaining from His prohibitions, and by not following the commandments that He has ordained upon us. Move towards Allah (swt) even if it’s inch by inch. Our Prophet (sa) would say: “O Allah (swt), make faith appear beautiful to us and adorn our hearts with it, and make Kufr, sin and disobedience abhorrent to us. Make us of those who are rightly guided. Ameen.”

Befalling of a calamity – boon or bane?

Again we learn about calamities. One thing to remember is that a calamity is not always a punishment. While some people drown and die in floods, there’s someone in the same city who died in the state of prostration. Your heart gauges whether a calamity is destruction or a blessing. If you find contentment and peace in your heart, then you are blessed. It could be a mean to raise your status in the sight of Allah (swt). So be pleased with His decree.

Sometimes we see images of calamity-stricken areas and we notice almost the entire settlement has perished, except one house. Why it is that one house is saved while all the other houses collapsed? It could be because the resident of that house was engaged in enjoining good and forbidding evil. He did his duty, he forwarded the knowledge that he had acquired. If people didn’t pay heed, he would not be held accountable for it. Look at what Allah (swt) says, “So when they forgot the reminders that had been given to them, We rescued those who forbade evil, but We seized those who did wrong with a severe torment because they used to rebel (disobey Allah).” (Al-Araf 7:165)

Lesson to learn

The key to stay protected from Allah’s (swt) punishment, after we have reformed ourselves, is to remind others. Tell the brothers to come to the Masjid for Salah. Advise the sisters not to dress in a certain way. Remind, for reminders benefit the believers.

Pay full attention to the Quranic recitation

How would one feel if the CEO of the company is talking and no one is paying attention? Sometimes, we turn on the Quran recitation and continue chatting on the side; paying absolutely no attention to what is being said. Allah (swt) warns us about this in the Quran, “So, when the Quran is recited, listen to it, and be silent that you may receive mercy. (I.e. during the compulsory congregational prayers when the Imam (of a mosque) is leading the prayer (except Surah Al-Fatihah), and also when he is delivering the Friday-prayer Khutbah).” (Al-Araf 7:204) Listening to Quran results in receiving Allah’s (swt) mercy, Subhan’Allah! Our mind and heart both should be attentive. Know that the one who receives the mercy of Allah (swt) is a person of high rank.

 

This Ramadan will be a Different One!

Ramadan

After breaking the fast, while still on my prayer mat, I was secretly hoping and praying that it wouldn’t be the last fast of Ramadan. Somehow I wasn’t that thrilled about Eid this time. I was rather withdrawn and passive. Obviously, Eid was not the reason for my distress; instead, it was the fact that Ramadan was ending.

Having understood the virtues and experienced the numerous blessings of Ramadan, I was anxious that I had not gained enough from the blessed month. “But there is always next Ramadan,” I reassured myself. “What makes you so sure that you will live that long?” a part of me responded. The growing debate between my conscience and Nafs (lowly base self prone to sin) made me more uncomfortable. The ticking of the clock made me desperate, and I felt like grabbing every second of the passing time.

I started having flashbacks of what little I did the entire month, as opposed to all that I could have done to seek the pleasure of my Rabb: the voluntary deeds I could have performed in addition to the regular rituals. I felt guilty, realizing that the enemy resided within me, and that enemy was my own Nafs.

“Forget it! You don’t have what it takes to be pious. If you couldn’t take charge of yourself in Ramadan, when Shaitan was chained, then what chance do you have for self-purification after Ramadan?” my Nafs condemned me. Tears of regret and remorse rolled down my cheeks into my hands raised in Dua. I promised myself that if I would be allowed to witness next Ramadan then it would have to be a different one and definitely a better one.

The first step towards attaining a goal is to be prepared. Therefore, I devised a pre Ramadan checklist. “This Ramadan will be a different one!” clenching my Ramadan checklist, I announced to myself in a resolute tone.

I thought of sharing it with you all, hoping that it will be of benefit to you as well, Insha’Allah.

My Ramadan Checklist

  • Make lots of Dua to be able to witness Ramadan with Hidayah (guidance), Hikmah (wisdom) and Aafia (well-being) as well as to be blessed with Barakah in your time, so that you can make the most of each day.
  • Regulate Your Routine. Try giving up on late nights and late mornings at least two weeks before Ramadan, in order to set your routine for Taraweeh and Qiyam-ul-Layl.
  • Quran Recitation. Start your Quranic recitation with understanding and contemplation at least ten days before Ramadan, so that by the end of the blessed month you do not feel the urge to rush the completion of the Glorious Quran.
  • Memorization of Duas. A month before Ramadan, you can try to memorize at least one new Dua every week. This way you will be able to gain more Khair during the month of forgiveness.
  • Grocery Shopping. Make sure that you have organized and stored all your groceries at least a week before Ramadan.
  • Ramadan Menu. Pre-planned menus will help you focus on more important tasks. Keep the menu as simple as possible, as it is a Sunnah to do so.
  • Adequate Eating Habits. Do not consume too much fried food, as it tends to lower your energy level.
  • Iftar Parties. If you invite people for Iftar, avoid mixed gatherings and extravagance.
  • Eid Shopping. Ramadan is a golden month for attaining Khair for our Akhirah, not for grabbing the best bargains at shopping malls. Do not lose this opportunity and focus on satisfying your Nafs instead. Complete your shopping before Ramadan.
  • Daily Checklist. Prepare a daily checklist of ‘things to do’ for the next day. This way, you will not be preoccupied with thoughts of mundane tasks and will be able to focus on your worship.
  • Supererogatory Acts. Form the habit of performing voluntary acts (prayers, fasts, charity, etc.) after your obligatory worship, in order to earn extra rewards.

Abu Hurayrah (rta) has narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “Allah said: My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties (obligatory acts) I have enjoined upon him. My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works, such that I shall love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask (something) of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it.” (Bukhari)

  • Daily Dhikr. Set your practice of the morning and evening Adhkar two weeks before Ramadan. Try to keep your tongue moist with Dhikr, for example: Astaghfirullah, Subhan Allah, Alhumdulillah, Subhan Allah e Wabihamdihi, while doing routine things like cooking and cleaning. This way your ordinary tasks will turn into acts of worship, Insha’Allah.
  • Duas before Fajr. A month before Ramadan, try to get up just ten to fifteen minutes before Fajr. This is that part of the night when Allah (swt) descends to the lowest heaven and accepts the Duas of His slaves. How can we miss such an opportunity, such an honour?
  • Spiritual Boost. Assign a specific time during the day for listening to Quranic recitation or an Iman-boosting lecture to help you stay high-spirited throughout the busy day.
  • Lessons for Children. Invest at least thirty minutes in sharing Deen-related material with your children. Make the lesson interesting and interactive. For example, read a story from the Quran or stories of the prophets; tell them a Hadeeth and try to act on it with them; switch on a short talk by a scholar, listen to it with them and discuss what you have learned.
  • Sharing Blessings. Arrange your cupboards a month before Ramadan and separate the items that you have not used for over six to ten months. Neatly sort and stack them in boxes to give away in charity.
  • A few months before Ramadan, get your children to help you make a little charity box, so that they can learn the importance of Sadaqah and start collecting money in it. When you go for your pre-Ramadan Eid shopping, buy a few gifts for the poor and wrap them nicely to give them out a day or two before Eid. Charity expiates sins and its virtues increase in this blessed month.

Ramadan offers excellent opportunities for reaping the utmost Khair (goodness). Imagine if you were told about a clearance sale at the best mall in town; wouldn’t you want to grab every valuable item in your reach? Definitely! Then why should we waste this opportunity to attain the pleasure of the One Who loves us beyond our perception?

May Allah (swt) help us make the most of our life, until we meet Him in Jannat-al-Firdaus, Ameen.

 

Quran is a Treasure – Preserve it in Your Heart

إن له لحلاوة.. و إن عليه لطلاوة.. و إن أعلاه لمثمر.. و إن أسفله لمغدق.. و إنه ليعلو و لا يعلي عليهQuran-550x412

[Indeed, it has sweetness and indeed it is adorned with beauty and charm. Surely, its first part is fruitful and its last part is abundant.

It conquers all speech and remains unconquered! It shatters and destroys all that has come before it!]

Those were the timeless words of Al-Waleed ibn Al-Mugheerah when he was asked by the Mushrikeen of Quraish to describe the speech of Allah (swt).

روى ابن ماجة وأحمد  عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ رضي الله عنه قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ( إِنَّ لِلَّهِ أَهْلِينَ مِنْ النَّاسِ ) قَالُوا : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ، مَنْ هُمْ ؟

(قال: أهل القرآن هم أهل الله و خاصته)

The Messenger of Allah (swt) said: “The people of the Quran are the people of Allah (swt) and His special servants.” (An-Nisa, Ibn Majah and Al-Hakim)

There are more than a billion Muslims in the world. Only a few million can read the Quran fluently. From those million, only a few people are destined to memorize the Quran. These are the people of Allah (swt) and His special servants!

This is a series of advice, incentives, methods and secrets to memorizing the Quran and becoming the best of the best, InshaAllah.

Advice #1: Sincere Intentions

The first step to fulfilling your goal of memorizing the Quran is sincerity. Ibn ‘Abbas (rta)  said: “Indeed, a person shall memorize according to his sincerity.” Meaning the sincerity of your intention will determine the strength and amount you memorize.

Actually, this is not just the first step. You need to refresh your intention at every step.

It is reported from Ali (rta) that Prophet (sa) said: “The one who shows off has three characteristics: He is lazy when by himself, he is lively and energetic when with others and he increases in his actions when he is praised and decreases in them when he is criticized.”

1- Dua, Dua, Dua – ask Allah (swt) to purify your heart from hypocrisy and boastfulness   and to protect you from the evils of your soul and its treachery.

2- Do not be deceived by praise. Nobody knows you better than you know your own self. If they praise, they only praise the blessings of Allah (swt) that they see on you; while you are the one who truly knows the reality of your heart and Allah (swt) knows you better than you know yourself. Remember, pride was Shaitan’s downfall.

Abu Bakr (rta) would make a prayer every time he would be praised:

اللهم اجعلني خيراً مما يظنون  ولا تؤاخذني بما يقولون واغفر لي ما لا يعلمون

“O Allah (swt), make me better than what they think and do not hold me accountable for what they say and forgive me for what they do not know.”

3- Beware of secret sins. “Nothing is more disgusting than a sinful reciter.”

4- Re-read and revise the Ahadeeth that talk about the punishment for the one who memorizes the Quran in order to be praised. Prophet (sa) said:

إن الله تبارك و تعالى إذا كان يوم القيامة ينزل إلى العباد ليقضي بينهم و كل أمة جاثية فأول من يدعى رجل جمع القرآن و رجل يقتل في سبيل الله و رجل كثير المال فيقول الله للقارئ: ألم أعلمك ما أنزلت على رسولي؟ قال: بلى يا رب. قال: فماذا عملت فيما علمت؟ قال: كنت أقوم به آناء الليل و آناء النهار. فيقول له: كذبت و تقول له الملائكة: كذبت. و يقول الله: بل أردت أن يقال أن فلاناً قارئ فقد قيل ذاك ثم أمر به فسحب على وجهه حتى ألقي في النار

“The first amongst mankind to be judged on the Day of Judgement is a man who studied knowledge and taught it and who used to recite the Quran. He will be brought and Allah (swt) will make known to him His favours and he will recognize them.

Allah (swt) will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I studied knowledge and I taught it and I recited the Quran for Your sake. He will say: You have lied – rather, you learned knowledge to be called a scholar and you memorized to be called a recitor and so it was said and you got your reward from those whom you sought it from. Then he will be dragged by his face and thrown into the fire of Hell.”

5- Remember always that the one who memorizes the Quran to be praised and to show off has no reward for his efforts and he is indeed sinful.

In conclusion, the intention is a very important, yet overlooked and sometimes undermined step towards memorizing the Quran. It may not be the only step but it is the most difficult to control and maintain.

It is reported from Sahl bin Abdullah (ra)that Prophet (sa) said: “There is nothing which is tougher upon the soul than (achieving) sincerity of intention. How many times have I tried to remove the  love of praise from my heart except that it sprouted in a different colour (i.e. in a different form).

Advice #2: Correct Recitation

The second step in this spiritual journey is to learn the correct recitation and articulation of the Quran. The second condition (after a sincere intention) for any deed to be accepted by Allah (swt) is that it should done according to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (swt).  Someone who wants to memorize the Book of Allah (swt) must learn it from those who are knowledgeable; and it is never sufficient for him to rely on his own self.

This is one of the most amazingly unique aspects of the Quran – there has always been a one-on-one student-teacher interaction with regards to studying it. Jibrael (as) taught it to the Messenger of Allah (swt) who in turn taught it to his companions (rta)  and that’s how its reached us: pristine, complete, unchanged, unaltered and unadulterated.

There are various steps to learn the correct recitation of the Quran:

1- Use the same copy of the Quran – this will help you to get accustomed to the text, the number of verses per line and it’ll keep your comments and corrections organized (use a pencil and mark your mistakes!); use highlighters and sticky notes for help.

2- Find a teacher – somebody who is well-versed in Tajweed and can accurately point out your mistakes. It’s best to recite the Quran to a teacher before starting to memorize, so that he/she may correct any mispronunciation. Begin to learn the basic rules of Tajweed.

3- Repeat the verses – repeating the same page at least ten times will help you grasp a stronger hold of the difficult letters such as the Qaaf (القاف) and Raa’ (الراء). Bishr bin as-Sirri (ra) said, “Verily, each verse is like a date: the more you chew it, the more of its sweetness is released.” Abu Sulayman (ra) heard this and commented: “True. It is the case with one of you that if he begins one chapter of it, he wants to read it to the end.”

4- Use your senses – listening to an audio recitation of the Quran by a skilled reciter while reading the verses from your copy of the Quran is extremely beneficial.

5- Write it down – write down the verses that you find most difficult to recite; that will help you concentrate on each word separately and this has been the way of the students of knowledge.

Lastly, don’t give up! The Messenger of Allah (swt) said:

.عن عائشة عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قالمثل الذي يقرأ القرآن وهو حافظ له مع السفرة الكرام البررة ومثل الذي يقرأ وهو يتعاهده وهو عليه شديد فله أجران

“The example of the one who recites the Quran and is fluent in it is as if he is with the noble pious angels and the example of the one who recites the Quran and stammers in it has two rewards as it is difficult for him.”

Remember to renew your intention every single time you begin reciting so that you may relish the beauty of wandering in the gardens of the remembrance of Allah (swt).

‘Uthman bin ‘Affan (ra) said: “If our hearts were truly pure, we would never get enough of the Words of our Lord and I hate even if one day passes with me not looking into the Quran.”

Advice #3: Chalk Out a Plan

The third most important step is to have a plan. This means you must designate an assigned portion that you intend to memorize every day. Be warned, planning is the easiest part. You must have will power and a strong sense of purpose in order to stick to it.

Do not try to aim too high and keep the planning moderate. That way, if you have extra time and end up memorizing more than planned, you’ll feel more encouraged to move forward consistently Insha’Allah.

The Messenger (sa) said:

خذوا من الأعمال ما تطيقون فإن الله لا يمل حتى تملوا و أحب الأعمال إلى الله ما داوم عليه صاحبه و إن قل

“Take from the deeds how much you can bear because Allah (swt) does not tire (of rewarding you) until you tire (of doing the deed). The most beloved of deeds to Allah (swt) are those that are done consistently by a person, even if they are small.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

The Salaf would say: “The one who does little consistently is better than the one who does a lot inconsistently.”

Follow these practical steps in order to lay out your plan and stick to it:

1- Learn about the way the Quran is divided.

  • 114 Surahs: each of the Surahs are of varying number of verses and the verses are varying in length.
  • 30 Juz’: each Juz’ is twenty to twenty one pages long
  • 60 Hizb: each Juz’ is divided into two almost equal subparts
  • You can decide to memorize according to the meaning and Tafseer of the verses, for example, Surah Yusuf has one primary topic, yet it can be divided according to the events that occurred: his dream and conversation with Yaqoob (as), being thrown into the well, the incident with the Aziz’s wife etc.
  • Additionally, scholars of the Quran have divided it this way:

i.            السبع الطوال– The Seven Long Surahs: this includes Surah Al Baqarah, Al-Imran, An- Nisa, Al-Maida, Al-Anam, Al-Araf and the seventh is either At-Taubah or Yunus.

ii.            المئون– The Hundreds: this includes almost all the Surahs that come after the previous seven and the number of verses in these Surahs reach approximately a hundred.

iii.            3-المثاني– The Repetitions: this includes all the Surahs that come after the previous and the number of verses in these Surahs reach approximately two hundred.

iv.            المفصل– The Separated Ones: this includes all the Surahs from Surah Al-Hujurat to Surah An-Nas

2- Decide which method of division is easiest for you to follow. Consider your daily routine. Make productive use of holidays, weekends and free time.

3- Start early! Prophet (sa) said:

اللهم بارك لأمتي في بكورها

“O Allah (swt)! Bless my Ummah in its early hours.” (Sahih Al Jami)

Therefore make use of the blessed hours before and after the Fajr Salah. This will also help you start the rest of your day with a sense of accomplishment.

4- Write it down everywhere! Draw out a neat little memorization plan for yourself and tick it as you go or if you are tech-savvy, use Microsoft Excel or Word.

5- Remember to include new memorization (parts you’ve memorized in the last few days), old memorization (parts you’ve memorized in the last month) and your new lesson (parts you memorized that day in particular). The new lesson you’ve memorized will stay in your short-term memory until you revise it consistently and transfer it to your long-term memory.

Finally, none of this will help you unless you have a strong determination to move forward. Do not burden yourself. Scholar of Fiqh and teacher of Imam Abu Hanifa (rta), Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman would say: “Learn three issues every day and do not increase it to anything else. Know that your heart is a part of your body and it is able to carry some things while unable to carry other things.”

6- Tea-time – If you are unable to move forward and feel stressed, give yourself a break. Relax and renew your intentions. I remember having a very fruitful month finishing one Juz’ every week and suddenly I found myself unable to memorize anything new. It would take me a whole hour to finish a page unlike the better days when I would memorize a page in thirty minutes. I made myself a revision plan and gave the memorization a break. After a few days, I had everything revised as planned, which encouraged me to get back on track, Alhamdulillah!

Remember that no matter how much you plan and organize, there will occasionally be setbacks. Do not despair; it is better to start afresh than to never get started at all!

[To be continued Insha Allah]

Quran at Fajr

Dawn_-_swifts_creek02Today, I would like to share with you a small reflection from one of the very beautiful passages of Surah Al-Isra.

In Surah Al-Isra, Allah (swt) talks about the value of the Quran, and the institution that helps us experience the Quran. One thing is to learn the language of the Quran. Another is to study its Tafseer, and recite and memorize it. The Quran is experienced in Salah itself.

 

ayah1

“Perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) from mid-day till the darkness of the night (i.e. the Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha prayers) and recite the Quran in the early dawn (i.e. the morning prayer). Verily, the recitation of the Quran in the early dawn is ever witnessed (attended by the angels in charge of mankind of the day and the night).” (Al-Isra 17:78)

So establish the Salah from the time the sun starts getting “loose” and it starts sinking, meaning around Maghrib time. You know one should strive to pray the Maghrib Salah exactly on time, not when the sun is completely gone and it is the depth of the night. He ordained us to establish the prayer at Maghrib and establish the prayer at Isha when it is dark at night. However, when it came to Fajr, He did not even call it Salat Al-Fajr, He called it Quran Al-Fajr or “The Quran of Fajr.”

Hence, we should recite extra Quran at Fajr. But there is something special about me as a person, me as a Muslim developing a relation with the Quran, especially at Fajr. So the advice I give to myself and the same I share with you all is: Try to make Fajr an institution in your life. Set some time aside for making a good Fajr Salah. Young men reading this, go make your Fajr Salah at the Masjid. And the days when you do go to the Masjid, sit there and recite Quran a little bit. If you dedicate that time to worshipping Allah (swt) and make the best of that time, then in your life you will notice a remarkable change; you will receive both spiritual and worldly benefits from your Lord soon, Insha’Allah.

Allah (swt) says: “…Indeed the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed.”

Try to make Fajr an institution in your life. Set some time aside for making a good Fajr Salah. Young men reading this, go make your Fajr Salah at the Masjid. And the days when you do go to the Masjid, sit there and recite Quran a little bit.

Allah (swt) declares that the Quran of Fajr (in the same verse), no doubt about it, is witnessed. It is such a beautiful thing to say. The word Mashooda means that which is witnessed. So the Fajr Salah, the recitation of Quran, the prayer that you recited and that you attended is witnessed.

Now, the question is who witnesses our actions at that time?

You know that Fajr time is that hour of the day when most of the people are asleep. Therefore, even if somebody is walking to the prayer area or driving to the prayer area, nobody sees them. Allah (swt) prescribes the Fajr time as the time that is witnessed (Mashood). Usually, the things that are witnessed are in middle of the day: popular acts, popular places. However, a Masjid is not a popular place and Salah is not a popular act at Fajr time – not for most of us. It is the time when you do not see many people around you. Allah (swt) says it is witnessed. The question is witnessed by whom? Not by the other people who are sleeping! Not by the people who are in heedlessness or the people in sleep, but by the angels who are recording our deeds and rather by the Almighty Allah (swt) Himself Who is making a note of the slaves who are coming and leaving sleep for Him and His Word. Subhan’Allah!

We need to abide by the rule that Allah (swt) has made the night for us to rest and the day to work. We ought to inculcate this habit in our life of going to sleep early and thus, waking up early. Only then, we can give the “Quran of Fajr” its due right!

Thereby, this is a very powerful thing. Try to implement this advice. Make a good habit of going to sleep early, which is easy to say and so hard to do, I know! We always have things piled up and we start getting around to them in the evening. Of course, Shaitan gets a little over-active in the evening too and hence, our distraction comes. You know you are sitting and watching videos late in the night, knowing you will not be able to wake up for Fajr. But you are doing everything late night and your Fajr is kind of getting out of the way! You are half-asleep, you pray a couple of Rakah and even you do not know what you have prayed! You know your Wudhu was when you were half-asleep and your prayer was when you were half-asleep! Moreover, you go about your day with the delusion that you were amongst those who woke up for Fajr.

We need to abide by the rule that Allah (swt) has made the night for us to rest and the day to work. We ought to inculcate this habit in our life of going to sleep early and thus, waking up early. Only then, we can give the “Quran of Fajr” its due right!

Therefore, I pray that we all are able to take advantage of that time. Once you make a habit of this and you try to implement even a little bit, you will start seeing its benefits soon Insha’Allah! You are going to notice your mood is different, your days are different, what you can accomplish is different, the Barakah in your time is different. I can guarantee you a fruitful experience since I have experienced this personally in my life.

I pray that Allah (swt) make us the people of the Quran, and make us amongst those who are able to take advantage of the specific times when Allah (swt) offers His special assistance and teaches us His special lessons. Ameen

Our Obligations to the Quran

Vol 6 - Issue 3 Our Obligations to the QuranBy Dr. Israr Ahmad

The pathetic and disastrous condition of the Muslim Ummah throughout the world is due to its abandoning of the Holy Quran. The constant attitude of indifference, along with our hypocritical lip-service, is tantamount to ridiculing the last of Allah’s (swt) revelations. Instead, we must clearly understand our responsibilities towards the Holy Quran and try our very best to fulfill them. We can neither expect any improvement in our worldly state of affairs, nor hope for salvation in the Hereafter, unless we carry out all the obligations that we owe to the Quran.

The five demands that the Quran makes on every Muslim are as follows:

  1. A Muslim is required to believe in the Quran.
  2. He is required to read it.
  3. He is required to understand it.
  4. He is required to act upon its teachings.
  5. He is required to convey its teachings to others.

Our First Obligation

The first obligation is to have faith (Iman) in the Divine origin of the Quran. Iman has two phases: verbal profession (Iqrar Bil-Lisan), and heart-felt conviction (Tasdeeq Bil-Qalb). To have faith in the Quran means that we should verbally profess that the Quran is the Word of Almighty Allah (swt) that was revealed by Him through His angel Jibrael (as) to the last of His messengers, Prophet Muhammad (sa). This is a legal requirement for the acceptance of a person as a member of the Muslim society.

Having done that, however, we also need to develop a deeply felt certitude in the Quran. It is only when we have real conviction in this verbal declaration, that our hearts and minds would come under its spell, leading us towards genuine devotion and veneration of the Holy Book. Unfortunately, there is a woeful lack of staunch faith in the Divine origin of the Quran among the Muslims of today. This lack of faith is the reason why we neither find any reverence for the Quran in our hearts, nor feel inclined to study it, nor evince any interest in pondering over its meanings, nor ever think of seeking its guidance in conducting our lives.

It might be asked as to how we can acquire true faith. The answer is that the source of Iman is the Holy Quran itself. If the Book is studied and its meanings are pondered upon in an authentic quest for truth, all the veils of darkness shall be lifted from our heart, and the inner self – the soul – will get illuminated by the light of true faith. Note that faith is not something that can be planted in us from the outside. It is an embodiment of fundamental truths that already exist inside us; the practice of pondering over the Ayahs of the Quran serves to bring them to the surface of our consciousness.

Our Second Obligation

The second obligation is slow and thoughtful reading of the Holy Quran with correct pronunciation, generally described as Tilawat, Tarteel, and Tajweed.Note that Tilawat is not only an important form of worship, but it is also an effective method of continually refreshing our faith. The Quran is not a book to be read once; it is a book that needs to be read again and again. We must read it carefully, reflecting on its messages, constantly seeking guidance for our lives. Just as our material body is in constant need of food for its sustenance, our spiritual soul or Rooh is also in perpetual need for its nourishment. And just as the food for our bodies is derived from the earth, the diet for our souls is obtained from the Word of God, the Holy Quran itself.

Moreover, a regular and constant programme of reciting the Holy Quran is also needed because it is a means of refreshing and reviving our faith, and a weapon for surmounting the obstacles in the path of Almighty Allah (swt). The ideal way in which the Holy Book should be recited is that one should stand in the post-midnight prayer before his Lord (swt) and recite its Ayahs in a slow and patient manner, pausing at proper places so as to enable one´s heart to imbibe its influence.

Our Third Obligation

The third obligationis to understand and comprehend the Holy Quran. The Quran has been revealed so that it may be understood and pondered upon. Of course, there are numerous levels and grades of comprehension, accessible to different persons according to their respective planes of intellect and consciousness.

The first stage in the comprehension of the Holy Quran is called Tazakkur, a term which alludes to the fact that the teachings of the Quran are not at all foreign or alien to the human Fitrah. Instead, they represent the eternal truths dormant in the human soul itself, and the reading or listening of the Holy Quran only facilitates the recalling of these forgotten verities. The Holy Quran has been rendered very easy by Almighty Allah (swt) for the purpose of gaining this level of guidance. It does not matter if a person´s intelligence is limited, or his knowledge of logic and philosophy is poor, or if he has no fine sense of language and literature. In spite of these drawbacks, he can still understand the basic message and practical guidance of the Holy Quran, provided he has an untainted nature not perverted by any crookedness.

The knowledge of Arabic language is, however, indispensable for this purpose. Muslims, who are not only educated but who have obtained advanced degrees in arts and sciences, would have no excuse before Almighty Allah (swt) on the Day of Judgement, if they failed to learn so much Arabic as would have enabled them to understand His Book. Learning basic Arabic is a duty that every educated Muslim owes to the Holy Quran.

The second stage in the comprehension of the Holy Quran is far from easy. Tadabbur is described as a penetrating study, an intense reflection, as thorough deliberation of the Holy Quran as possible. It involves diving deep into the bottomless ocean of its wisdom. This kind of understanding is impossible, unless one is to devote his entire life, all his talents, and all his energies for the sole purpose of comprehending the Quran. Obviously, not everyone is capable of such a high level of devotion and effort to acquire such insight and comprehension. But there must be a number of persons, at all times, who are engaged in this enterprise.

Such scholars cannot be produced unless we have a network of universities throughout the Muslim world, which concentrate on Quranic research by making it the focus of all their intellectual activity. Such scholars would need to have a thorough knowledge of the Arabic language and its grammar and a refined literary taste to appreciate the beauty and force of its expression. They must acquire a good grounding in the language in which the Quran was revealed by a critical study of the works of the pre-Islamic poets and orators. They must be able to appreciate the terms and modes of expression evolved by the Quran itself, along with an understanding of the coherence in the Quran. A good knowledge of tradition and old scriptures is also necessary for the comprehension of the Quran. Along with this classical knowledge, the scholars must also have an understanding of the fundamentals of modern physical and social sciences. This would widen their intellectual horizon and enable them to present the eternal Quranic truths in the contemporary idiom.

Our Fourth Obligation

The fourth obligationis to act upon the teachings of the Holy Quran. The Quran is the ‘guidance for mankind’. The purpose for which this Book has been revealed will be fully realized only when people act upon its teachings and make it the guide for them in every sphere of their lives. If we disregard the injunctions of the Quran, then the reading and understanding of the Holy Book, instead of doing us any good, will only make us guiltier before Almighty Allah (swt).

At an individual level, it is imperative for every Muslim to mould his or her life according to the teachings of the Quran. The best way to benefit from the study of the Holy Quran is to go on changing our lifestyles and mending our ways in accordance with its teachings.

At the collective level of the community, it is equally imperative for us to try and establish the system of social justice as given by the Holy Quran. The Muslims are, as a whole, responsible for establishing the Sovereignty of Almighty Allah (swt) in the public as well as the private sphere, and each of us is obligated to try his utmost in this path. The struggle for the establishment of such a just and equitable order in accordance with the teachings of the Quran is the bounding duty of its followers.

Our Fifth Obligation

The fifth obligation is to propagate the message of the Holy Quran to every nook and corner of the world. This was originally the responsibility of Prophet Muhammad (sa), who fulfilled his own obligation by conveying the Divine message to the Ummah; since Prophethood has been concluded with the advent of Prophet Muhammad (sa), who is the last of the Divine Messengers, it is now the duty of the Muslims to deliver that message to all humanity. Unfortunately, the proclamation of the Divine message to the whole world appears like a far-fetched and fantastic idea, because, at the moment, the Muslims themselves are ignorant of the teachings of the Holy Quran.

Therefore, a powerful intellectual and academic movement – back to the Quranis needed in order to propagate and disseminate the knowledge and wisdom of the Holy Quran, both on a general scale for the benefit of our masses and on the highest level of scholarship in order to convert the educated and intelligent elite of the Muslim society.