New Lease on Life


My Quran Reflections Journal
Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

Day 23 Reflection
Takmeel Surah Al-Baqarah

My world came tumbling upside down,
Yet on my forehead, there wasn’t a frown!

‘Several arteries and the left main blocked!’
The news left my husband and me, awestruck and shocked!

Indeed towards Allah (swt) we all will return,’ is what I said,
‘Indeed Allah (swt) is with the patient,’ to him I declared!

‘It’s a heart bypass!’ He said worried and scared,
‘Will I make it?’ His next question he shared!

‘Insha’Allah, Allah (swt) will give you Shifa completely,’
I consoled him- ‘Soon you will be well and with your family!’

I saw fear of death on his face, which went pale and white!
I couldn’t glare at him for long, I thought to myself, ‘What if he died? ‘

I remembered Allah’s (swt) favours and countless bounties
We hadn’t asked Him for anything, Yet He granted us with His infinite mercy.

I shrugged my shoulders, and got rid of the negative thought,
Saying ‘Audhubillah’ – I sought refuge in Him and did what is taught.

I spread the prayer mat, and in Sajdah I fell,
Saying ‘Istaghfar’ – I shared with Allah (swt) the thoughts that dwell.

I recalled His kindness and mercy, and that He tests those He loves
I renewed my faith, made Dua to emerge successful and rise above!

I didn’t want my husband or myself to wallow in self-pity,
I reminded him of Allah’s (swt) promise that, He will always be…

…With those who are patient and those who find strength in Salah,
I smiled at him and helped him do Wudhu to run towards Falah!

Together we prayed, we cried, we spoke to Allah (swt) and we found peace,
My husband was now ready for the surgery, and to get a new life’s lease!

The strength that Allah’s (swt) words gave us in this trial is unreal!
It cannot be expressed, just felt – because no words are substantial!

Before he left for the operation, he held my hand and said,
“I am now tension-free and to Allah (swt) I have pledged.

If I am given another life, it will be spent in His obedience,
His worship will be my motto, and I will bear everything with patience!”

“Alhumdulillah,” I said, while wiping the tears in his eyes and mine,
“Do not stress yourself, Insha’Allah you will be back, healthy and fine!”

He hugged me one last time, before he lay on the stretcher,
“I have made Dua for you sincerely,” he whispered in my ear!

I couldn’t stop my tears; I was very scared and didn’t want him to go,
I asked him to be brave, although he was being braver than me though!

He said, “Won’t you ask what I asked Allah (swt) for you? Shouldn’t I recount?”
I kept quiet, he said, “Oh Allah (swt) grant her Jannah without any account!”

He left me dumb-founded and courageously went for the surgery,
“Ameen. Oh Allah (swt), and, please, in Jannah make him accompany me!”

I burst into tears, and remembered Allah’s (swt) promises in Al-Baqarah,
I waited patiently, prayed sincerely and found solace in Salah!

Alhumdulillah, Allah (swt) has mercifully granted a new life to my husband,
And as a result of this test, He has made our love for each other exuberant!

Allah Knows

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Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

Day 22 Reflection
(Al-Baqarah 2:216)

My husband was admitted in the hospital for a bypass surgery. I couldn’t attend my Quran classes. Staying away from the Quran, my school, my friends and teachers made me realize what a great loss it is to know that there’s a class going on, of which you are a part, but because Allah (swt) hasn’t permitted, nothing matters!

You have paid the fees, yet, you are absent! You have bought the internet connection at the hospital, yet, for the first time in the history of the hospital, the power shuts down for three days; you go to the class somehow, yet your heart remains restless and wanders back to where your mind is – the hospital, Subhan’Allah!

It brought me back to the verse:

“…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah (swt) knows but you do not know.” (Al-Baqarah 2:216)

We humans are helpless and always in need of Allah’s (swt) mercy. We cannot even breathe without His permission – but only if we knew, only if we understood and only if we realised!

The Mercy of Allah

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Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

 Day 20 Reflection
(Al-Baqarah 2:152)

I looked above at the beautiful sky today, while travelling to Toronto from Mississauga. As far as I could see, there were thick grey and white clouds, and in between those, I could see patches of the clear blue sky, Subhan’Allah!

I thought to myself, whenever we look up at the sky, aren’t we reminded that just like the sky envelops the entire world, no matter where we go or which phase of life we are at, Allah’s (swt) mercy encompasses us?

Whether it is the blue sky, reflecting the height of sheer contentment and pure joy one experiences in life, the greys denoting the deep troubles, intense fears and agonizing pains that one is tested with, or the balanced whites representing the daily stressful and happy moments; Alhumdulillah, we are blessed to be never left alone by Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) promises in the Quran, in His most beautiful speech: “Therefore remember Me (by praying, glorifying). I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for My countless favours on you) and never be ungrateful to Me.” (Al-Baqarah 2:152)

How soothing and reassuring is this promise! What a solace it brings to one’s heart, knowing that our Creator is not going to leave us alone, but only, if we remember to ask Him, beg Him, plead Him and be grateful to Him!

Bloom to Perfection

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Day 15 Reflection
(Al-Baqarah 2:83-91)

“Worship none but Allah (alone) and be dutiful and good to parents, and to kindred, and to orphans and (the poor), and speak good to people and perform As-Salah and give Zakah. Then you slid back, except a few of you, while you are backsliders.” (Al-Baqarah 2:83)

A “Momin” can be compared to a beautiful flower; the appearance and fragrance of which appeals and attracts everyone. The way one talks, walks, acts and thinks should be able to draw attention, interest and love of others. Let’s not be like the thorn which pricks or hurts others. We should rather try to pick out the thorns from the path of others, and be harmless. We should spread the sweet smell that Allah (swt) has blessed us with, by virtue of being a Muslim and draw others towards our high moral values and character; just like little creatures such as insects and flies, and more sophisticated human beings even, are attracted towards beautiful flowers.

May Allah (swt), make us that flower in the garden of our Ummah, which blooms to perfection and utmost beautification, and spreads freshness, love and happiness all around, through obedience of Allah (swt). May Allah (swt) enable us to become a walking-talking example of the Seerah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa); so that, we are able to adopt ‘Ahsaan’ (utmost good) in all our ‘Mu’amlaat’ (dealings) related toour Creator Allah (swt) (i.e. Huquq Allah (swt)), as well as, His Creation (i.e. Huquq Al Ibad).

Day 16 Reflection
(Al-Baqarah 2:92-103)

As individuals, the only exclusive power or authority that we have is perhaps, on our children; and that too, until a certain age. Very sadly so, but honestly, we expect them to follow our directives, and orders or requests. How many times is it that we get upset with them for not listening to us? We get frustrated, lose our patience, become anxious, shout at them, or even sometimes raise our hands on them!

Look at the endless, selfless, vast and perpetual love of Allah (swt) for His creation. One reminder after another, warning after warning, Ayah after Ayah, He sends us admonitions. He sends trials and tribulations our way to derive lessons from, and to change our ways of trading with Him. And even after constantly being reminded by Him, and knowing how mankind (esp. the people before the arrival of Prophet Muhammad’s (sa)) was reprimanded in the past, we do not fail to disobey Him again, and again, and again!

What has happened to the state of our hearts? What about our minds? Time to check our ‘Iman’ (faith)!

Stone-Hearted Humans

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Day 14 Reflection
(Al-Baqarah 2:74-82)

“Then, after that, your hearts were hardened and became as stones or even worse in hardness. And indeed, there are stones, out of which rivers gush forth, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which split asunder so that water flows from them, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which fall down for fear of Allah.” (2:74)

Time has changed us into stone-hearted, rock-hard individuals. We have become desensitized to our surroundings: at a collective level – to the calamities that Ummah is afflicted with; at an individual level – to sufferings of the individuals around us.

This verse got me thinking: who are we to judge other people with hard hearts, when we ourselves are undergoing the same transformation, off and on? The hardness, which has overshadowed the goodness within them, can be removed, if we try to drip on them with our patience, compassion and perseverance, slowly but surely, as water dripping on hard rocks and ultimately making its way.

If somebody behaves badly with us, we shouldn’t respond with the same demeanor. We must try to win hearts by forgiving people, being nice to them and not judging them for their one act; in fact, even for their repeated acts of disappointing us. Because we are not in position to judge! We don’t know, which of our own acts are accepted by Allah (swt) and which not. Allah (swt) can change any heart, whether it is an ailing one or a sick one. He can turn it into a heart, from which water gushes forth and benefits others.

May Allah (swt) make us from those, who worship Him in solitude and fear Him to the extent that we weep in solitude. May Allah (swt) fill our hearts with his Khashiah (genuine fear out of love and respect). May He enable us to make Dua for all those individuals around us, who are struck by stone-hard hearts. This is definitely a sign of our genuine well-wishing and soft-heartedness. And may Allah (swt) protect us from becoming stone-hearted humans ourselves! Ameen.

Upgrade Your Akhirah

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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.

Our Twin Enemies

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Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

Day 11 Reflection
Surah Al Baqarah (verses 48-59)

Mental enslavement signifies that one is a slave of a particular mindset: your thinking reflects your slavery and is manifested in your actions as well.

Let’s pause and ponder: are we mentally and physically enslaved as well? Just like Bani Israel had the wrong focus, which resulted in wrong choices, are we falling in the trap of enslavement to our twin enemies – Shaitan and our Nafs? Do we consider ourselves free individuals, because we follow the prompting of our Nafs and Shaitan? We are in fact victims of self-delusion!

Time for some serious retrospection! Let’s change our focus in life and find refuge in patience and prayer, Insha’Allah.

Day 12 Reflection
Surah Al Baqarah (verses 60-62)

Obligation, Not an Option!

We cannot be selective in our obedience and love of Allah (swt), if we are truly the guided ones. When truth reaches us through authentic sources – the Quran and the Sunnah – there’s no room for complacency, arrogance and disobedience. Action, implementation and application of Allah’s (swt) commandments are an obligation on a believer, and not a mere option!

A believing heart is the one, which listens and obeys, understands and implements, applies and exemplifies through excellent conduct that is taught by our Mahboob (the Most Loved), Maqsood (the One Sought) and Matloob (the One Desired) that is Allah (swt) in the Quran and by His Messenger in his Sunnah.

One also has to be clear that Allah (swt) is the ultimate and exclusive source of help for us. Any confusion, hesitation or clarification should be directed towards Allah (swt) alone, and we must have faith that He will help us, Insha’Allah.

“Oh Allah, You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help.” (Al-Fatihah 1:5) Ameen.

Allah – Our 24/7 Helpline

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Day 9 Reflection
Surah Al-Baqarah (verse 28)

“How can you disbelieve in Allah? Seeing that you were dead and He gave you life. Then He will give you death, and then again will bring you to life (on the Day of Resurrection) and then unto Him you will return.” (Al-Baqarah 2:28)

In the aforementioned Ayah, the fact established is that we came into existence from nothingness; we were given life when we were lifeless; from a drop of sperm to a cluster of flesh and bones, and from the dependant embryo to an independent, free-willed adult!

Also, our final destination is He. All of us will return to Him for sure!

Shouldn’t then we make the gist of these verses the motto of our lives? Why not consider Allah (swt) our helpline, and turn to Him also in this Dunya through Salah, Dua, Dhikr, Quran and other forms of worship, which may include maintaining cordial ties with family and friends and doing righteous deeds? Let us all make our Creator as our ultimate and exclusive helpline, rather than depending, relying and expecting from His creation, which is prone to making mistakes! Let’s be among those, who create strong bonds and maintain sincere ties with Allah (swt) first and consequently – His creation.

Oh Allah (swt) make us among those who make You their Matloob (the One, Who is wanted), Maqsood (the One, attaining Whose pleasure, is their goal in life) and Mahboob (the One loved dearly). Ameen.

Day 10 Reflection
Surah Al-Baqarah (verses 30-39)

The Highway

Today’s lesson got me thinking that we could actually understand the crux of these verses that we studied metaphorically as well. Consider your lives on a highway, where one route takes you towards guidance, while the opposite one leads you astray. Also, imagine that you are rushing on this highway to reach your short term destination. One must consider that irrespective of which side of the road you are driving on, there will be exits coming your way. If you are driving on the guidance side, consider encountering the exits of complacency, pride, arrogance, backbiting and hypocrisy, because Shaitan will continuously try to steer your car in that direction. Also, consider that when you are on the opposite road, exits of repentance, Astaghfar and turning towards Allah (swt) will come your way, because Allah (swt) will continue to send reminders to you. Now, before you determine, which exit to take, remember two facts:

  1. No matter what your short term destination is, your final return is to your Rabb (swt).
  2. You are not always alone on the vehicle. So, whichever route you take, you will probably be driving your family and close friends on that route with you.

Now make your choice wisely!

May Allah (swt) enable us all to make the wisest of choices, which will lead us to His pleasure. May He guide us and keep us steadfast upon such a path. Ameen.

Our Desired Goal

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Day 5 Reflection

Surah Al Baqarah (Ayahs 8-16)

Our Desired Goal

Today’s lesson revolved around the third category of people mentioned in Surah Fatihah (Ayat 7) – Ad-Duaaleen (the Munafiqun). These are those disbelievers, who went astray. They had Hidayah Ilmi (knowledge) but were deficient of Hidaya Tawfeeqi (capacity to implement the knowledge).

Some signs of such people are:

1) They try to deceive Allah (swt) and the believers and collaborate in doing so, but end up deceiving themselves.

2) They consider the Mutaqeen foolish and mock them.

3) They lie and pretend to be among the believers, but when alone with their type of people, they declare they are among them (the Shayateen).

4) They create corruption and mischief on the Earth, and, when asked not to do it, they say they’re among the rectifiers.

My mind was continuously wandering; deceptive people, liars, mockers, people who joke around and lie in their jokes, too, people who consider others foolish and think of themselves as superior, those who are pretentious and mischievous, these are the ones, whom Allah (swt) has left to transgress and such people will never be guided. These are the hypocrites that Allah (swt) refers to as Ad- Duaaleen.

I couldn’t think any further. Time for some serious retrospection – Tazkiya-e-Nafs (self analysis). I am not in a position to say anything, because I first need to rectify myself and clear myself of all such habits. Only then will I be able to come out of this category.

I also thought that a lot of these characteristics are directly proportional to one’s level of Taqwa (Allah-consciousness). The higher the Taqwa, the more the cautiousness of not committing the sins named above. Henceforth, my desired goal is to make continuous Dua for increase in Taqwa, Insha’Allah, along with actions, which would lead me to put my Ilm (knowledge) into Amal (action).

I thought of sharing this Dua with all of you. I pray that this Masnoon Dua benefits us all, Bi Idhn Allah.

“Allahumma Ati Nafsi Taqwaha wa Zakkiha anta Khayru man Zakkiha anta Waliyyuha wa Mawlaha.” (“O Allah, grant my soul its piety and purify it, You are the best to purify it, You are its Guardian and Master.”)

I also pray that the next time we all pray to be among the pure believers, the Mutaqeen (Alladheena Ana’mta) and not from the pure disbelievers, the Kafireen (Al-Maghdoob), and neither from the hypocrites, the Munafiqun, (Ad-Duaaleen), we say it with our whole hearts. May Allah (swt) listen to us and guide us to the straight path. Aameen.

Day 6 Reflection

Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 18

Our Inner State

“Deaf, dumb and blind they would never return to the right way.” (Al-Baqarah 2:18)

I was stuck on this Ayat last evening. It describes the inner state of the hypocrites. However, what one needs to understand is that these people are not literally deaf, they hear the Divine message but deny it; they are not literally dumb or mute, because they do mock the believers. Neither are these individuals literally blind, but their vision is impaired because of their lofty aspirations and excessive materialistic desires. Hence, they stay oblivious to the truth – the Haq (knowledge).

I just want to ask myself: am I one of those? Was I from among them in the past? Would I want to stay one of them in the future? If not, then this Ayat serves as a wake-up call for me and, in fact, for all of us.

I beg Allah (swt) not to seal our hearts and allow our hearing, sight and speaking faculties to do their jobs in the way that is most pleasing to Him. Aameen.

The Window to our Hearts

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Day 3 Reflection

The Larger Picture

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Surah Al Baqarah (1 – 5)

Today in class, I met a girl, who gave up her entire crucial year of college for coming all the way from Michigan to study Quran with us. Away from her family, and obviously from the comforts that she was enjoying at her parents’ home, she’s here just to quench the thirst of knowledge. What took me 38 years to reach, she has aimed for and achieved at the young age of 18, SubhanAllah!

Today’s lesson got me thinking about this exact point! Muflihoon (Al-Baqarah 2:5) – those, who are successful in the real sense. Allah (swt) sees them as ‘successful’; the ones, on whom His favours are bestowed upon (Al-Fatihah 1:7). Look at the connection between the two, SubhanAllah!

A serious shift of perception is required here. As opposed to people striving to attain more of Dunya, truly successful are those, who focus on the Akhirah (the unseen). Those, who establish prayers, as opposed to those, who rush through it thinking it’s an obligation. Those, who let go of their wealth, as opposed to being stingy about it. Those, who spend in the path of Allah (swt), as opposed to accumulating mountains of wealth. Truly successful are those ,who believe in the Book that Allah (swt) has revealed to our Prophet (sa) and the Haq (truth) from all the previous revelations, rather than being arrogantly biased about their religion (Islam), SubhanAllah!

May Allah (swt) make us of those, who are truly successful in front of Him, in this world and the hereafter. From those, who can give up a university degree or a few years of college or high school, keeping the larger picture in view; for attaining Khair and not sacrifice the Khair, the true knowledge for the success in this Dunya. Aameen!

Day 4 Reflection

Windows to our Heart

Surah Al Baqarah (Ayahs 6 & 7)

Today’s lesson covered the characteristics of the Al Maghdoob – those, who earned Allah’s (swt) wrath (refer to Surah Fatihah). Allah (swt) has sealed their hearts and hearing and has covered their sight. Such are the people, for whom is Azaab Un Azeem.

Another teacher of ours shared the reflection that if the two faculties of hearing and sight can be controlled, which are like the two windows of your heart, the chances of your heart staying on the right path increase. I thought to myself: “How true is that!” Most of the sins that we commit, or become part of – such as gossip, back biting etc. – all enter our heart, because we listen to such talk or we watch things that have been forbidden in Islam.

What truly struck me was that prophet Musa also needed a Dua for expanding his chest and removing the knot from his tongue, SubhanAllah! Who then are we? Shouldn’t we ask Allah (swt) not to seal our heart and make it receptive for understanding the knowledge that is poured upon us through the Quran, Sunnah, lectures and Dawah posts? Don’t we need wisdom of speech and selection of words, which can enable others to understand the message that we are trying to convey?

I pledge that from today onwards, Insha’Allah, before I utter a word concerning Deen, I would ask Allah (swt) to “expand my chest and ease for me my task, and untie the knot on my tongue, so that they may understand my speech”. I don’t want my near and dear ones not to understand the knowledge, the Kalaam Allah (swt) that may reach them through me. Above all, I do not want myself to become complacent after being guided, lest Allah (swt) puts a seal on my heart, after being guided, so I must continuously ask for Allah’s (swt) help to keep me on the straight path – Ihdinas Sirat Al Mustaqeem.

Oh, Allah (swt), make us from amongst the Mutaqeen (conscious of Allah (swt)) and the Muflihoon (Aakhira oriented). Make us from those, who continuously seek Allah’s (swt) help – You Alone we worship and You alone we ask for help! Aameen!