بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In my now-famous* post, I mentioned a simple technique that someone could use to focus on the taraweeh prayers. [If you haven’t read that post, then please do. I think it travelled the globe…]
[*I use the term “famous” very loosely.]
Now I have an even simpler way: sign up for the following (free, I believe) month-long intensive course which offers a daily study of the Quran:
[This is the same brother, may Allah reward him, who runs the following beneficial blog: http://trueword.wordpress.com/]
It seems that he is going to do one juz daily, covering the translation, explanation and partial recitation. It sounds very good, maasha-Allah.
The course starts on July 15th and will continue until August 12th, insha-Allah, which is great because you can start preparing for the “taraweeh recitation” ahead of time.
[This will be held onsite (for those of you in Ontario or thereabouts) and online as well but you need to sign up first.]
Please remember to send the link to all those who may be interested, insha-Allah.
What if you aren’t able to take the course?
Well then, you should read the post that I linked to above as well as the following ones:
3) Surah Study Guide (for any surah)
4) Want some help with tajweed (recitation)? Here you go.
5) Want some nice word to word translations? Here you go.
All the resources that one needs are available online, alhamdulillah.
The real question is: Is the heart willing?
And Allah knows Better.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Here’s Step 2.]
When I first started taking Islamic classes consistently (about 8 years ago), my memorisation of the Quran consisted of the first page and the last page.
First page = Surah Al-Fatihah
Last page: Surahs Al-Ikhlaas, Al-Falaq and An-Naas.
When I was a kiddie, I had memorised half of Juz Amma in school so when I rememorised that later (as an adult), it was a great achievement for me.
[The Quran is divided into 30 ajzaa (plural of juz) where each juz is about 20 pages long, except for the first and last juz, which are both slightly longer than that. The last juz is known as Juz Amma because the first word in that is “amma”.]
One of the things that I noticed in the now-famous survey was that very few sisters had ventured outside of Juz Amma.
Out of 26 respondents, a whopping 20 had memorised less than one juz.
Four had memorised between 2-5 ajzaa, one had memorised 6-10 ajzaa and one had memorised the whole Quran, maasha-Allah, may Allah keep her steadfast.
Now, someone might say “What’s the problem with this anyway? It’s not an obligation to memorise the Quran.”
No, it’s not. However, it is still an act of worship which is highly recommended.
Also, don’t you think that one should memorise more than just 2-3 surahs?
1) This leads to a greater attachment with the Quran.
2) The salah (prayer) will cease to be on autopilot mode. [You know what I mean.]
3) For those who wish to become students of knowledge, memorising 2-3 short surahs is not going to cut it.
4) Memorising the Quran helps in learning Arabic.
[Note: I should point out that the vocabulary of Juz Amma is relatively tough especially when compared to Surah Al-Baqarah and Aal-Imran, the two longest surahs in the Quran! I still need to keep checking the translation from time to time.]
5) Ramadan is coming soon. Are we planning on repeating Surah Al-Ikhlaas in every salah again???
I could go on and on.
To those who have not yet memorised Juz Amma, I would say the following: Work towards memorising at least this juz even if it takes a few years.
How can you strive to achieve this?
Well, as I have an entire blog dedicated to memorising the Quran, I’m going to summarise the advice:
1) Do lots of dua (supplication).
2) Be serious about achieving your goal.
3) Set a deadline by which you will have memorised Juz Amma.
[Of course, if you’ve already memorised that then move on to the next juz which is Juz Tabarak.]
Be realistic. If you think it will take 10 months, then set the deadline at the end of the 10 months.
Although if you want to be brave, you could try to push yourself to memorise it by the end of Ramadan. You have about 9 weeks. Highly doable.
4) Memorise an ayah (verse) a day, if that’s all you can manage.
That’s fine. Slowly but surely is better than just sitting there and doing nothing.
I had an ayah by ayah memorisation project going on (I need to restart it soon, insha-Allah). I’ve put up the audio, translation, word to word and tafsir (commentary) of each ayah.
[Still on Surah Al-Fatiha? Please read this post on my New Muslim blog.]
5) Get a teacher.
Yes, you need one because even the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) had one (Jibreel the angel).
If you can’t find a Quran teacher in your area, then feel free to move to a place like Dubai, where you can find them everywhere.
6) Don’t give up.
Don’t even THINK about giving up.
So, when can you start?
Well, assuming that it’s not midnight at your end, what’s stopping you from starting right NOW?
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
5) To call to it
It’s not enough to just apply the Quran ourselves, rather we also need to invite others to apply the Quran as well.
After all, what was the main role of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)? He was sent to call the people to worship Allah alone. So his primary role was dawah (calling to Islam).
Sadly, in these times, we have become very lax in fulfilling this right.
How does one do dawah?
Well, I hope to discuss that in greater detail in a future post, insha-Allah. For now, the following points should suffice:
a) Start with tawheed (worshipping Allah alone).
And no, not everyone knows about tawheed. If they did, I wouldn’t have come across as many dropped jaws as I did.
Tawheed is the most important thing and everything else is based upon it. Only the people of tawheed will exit Hell and only the people of tawheed will enter Paradise.
b) Talk about what you know
This one sounds obvious but given the amount of people who talk about matters in which they have zero knowledge, I guess it’s not that obvious….
c) Talk with proof
[Yes, I know that this particular post does not have any proof. Forgive me, it’s midnight at the moment.]
“I said”, ” I think”, “My shaikh said”, “My parents said” and “I heard someone say” are not counted as proofs, I’m afraid.
Proof = Allah said, Allah’s Messenger (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) said and the Companions of Allah’s Messenger said. This is what Islam is based on.
d) Be nice.
I repeat: Be nice.
I repeat yet again: BE NICE.
The above might sound like simple steps but they do make a lot of difference.
6) To do the above all the time
This is the last right and it entails fulfilling all the rights of the entire Quran consistently.
Failure to fulfill these rights would mean that we have abandoned the Quran. So we need to make sure that we try our best to do as much as we can.
May Allah make us of those who fulfill the rights of the Quran.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In Step 1, I mentioned that one of the problems that we have today is that many Muslims can’t understand the Quran and haven’t read it from cover to cover.
I then proceeded to bore you with my life story.
In this step, I’m going to suggest a practical plan as to how you can ACTUALLY do it.
Important note: I’m assuming that the reader is a native English speaker. If not, it would obviously be better for you to read the translation in your own language.
I haven’t much clue about other languages, just the following:
1) The Quran has been translated into many languages. However, some of these are by non-Muslims who hate Islam, so one needs to be careful.
2) As far as I know, a good authentic site to get the translation in different languages is : http://www.islamhouse.com/
3) Darussalam (the company, not the city in Tanzania – someone already had this misunderstanding today) has translations in many different languages.
4) I heard that there was a very nice translation in Urdu called “Ahsanul Bayan”. It’s published by Darussalam.
5) The abridgment of Tafsir in Kathir is available in French. It’s also published by Darussalam.
[And no, I’m not an Urdu or a French speaker, although I know a bit of both.]
Before I continue, I would like to point out something very, very important. There is a difference between reciting the Quran (i.e. the Arabic text) and reading its translation.
One of the rights of the Quran is to recite it so we have to fulfill this right.
Understanding the Quran is another right, so reading the translation will aid us towards fulfilling this right.
So, what would I suggest to an English speaker?
1) Decide whether you want to start with the Saheeh International translation or the Muhsin Khan one. I would suggest starting with the Muhsin Khan one and getting the one volume abridged version.
I wouldn’t advise starting with the word to word translation just yet.
2) Get yourself a copy of the translation of the Quran along with the Arabic text
3) Decide how many ayaat (verses) you are going to recite every day.
4) Each day, recite at least that many ayaat and then proceed to read the translation of each ayah (verse). [Start from Surah Al-Fatihah.]
If you have difficulty reciting and can’t get hold of a teacher at the moment, you can try to listen to the audio first for each ayah and then repeat after the reciter. This site has recitation as well as translation: http://tanzil.net/
5) Do this each and EVERY day until you finish reciting the Quran (i.e. you finish Surah An-Nas).
If you go to bed and remember that you forgot to recite the Quran, then my advice is to hop out, do wudhu and recite the required portion. This will train you to recite the Quran daily.
If you miss a day, then you might miss another day and so on, so you shouldn’t miss a single day.
6) Choose the other translation (e.g. if you chose Saheeh, move over to Mushin Khan) and then repeat steps 3-5 all over again.
If you wish, you may use both translations at once. It’s up to you. There are quite a few sites with the translations but they don’t have the accompanying notes, which is why it’s better to get the hard copy.
1) Follow Steps 1-5 of the Basic Plan.
2) In addition to this, decide if you want to finish reading the translation at a faster pace.
If so, choose one translation (preferably the Saheeh one) for using with your recitation. Depending on how easy you find it to recite, this one could take quite some time.
Choose the other one (preferable the Muhsin Khan one) and read the translation. This time you don’t have to recite it because you’re already doing that when you read the other translation so you can read through this one faster and take it with you wherever you go.
In both the above cases, I would advise you to take notes about whatever questions or thoughts you might have. [Read more about keeping a Quran Journal.]
3) If you are not a reader, and prefer to listen (apart from the translation that you are reading whilst reciting), choose a good translation and then listen to it in your car, iPod, etc as often as you can until you finish the whole thing.
This site (scroll to the bottom) contains many Quran recitations along with the translations: http://quranicaudio.com/
[The “fabulous” one that I referred to in Part 1 is the 3rd last one: Shuraim and Sudais with Aslam Athar.]
You can listen to one set and then proceed to listen to another.
[It includes all of the above mentioned things.]
1) Recite whilst reading the translation (I recommend the Saheeh translation for this) .
2) Read the second translation (I recommend the Muhsin Khan one for this).
3) Listen to a third (I recommend the Pickthall “fabulous” one mentioned above for this.)
You’ll be doing all of the above in the same time period. This way, you’ll be really surrounded with the Quran.
4) If you want to be very brave, you can also read the word to word translation but I really don’t advise it until you’ve read the translation at least once. [I’ve mentioned many word to word translations in this post.]
Remember, don’t stop until you’ve finished reciting the translation until the end.
Insha-Allah, I hope that the post was clear.
What do you think? Is the plan helpful?
Perhaps you have another technique? If so, please share, baarakallahu feekum.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
So, 23 people filled out the survey (which is still open), may Allah reward them and one promised to do so soon, which obviously means that I have only 24 readers, alhamdulillah.
I’ve started a series to deal with some of the common problems that I came across in the survey. [It won’t just deal with this though.]
The main problem that I saw was that most of the respondents did not understand much of the Quran.
And this is a problem that is widespread across the Muslim world: people read the Quran without understanding it.
[In fact, this has been mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah with regards to the Jews and Christians i.e. the two nations before us. They read their religious books without understanding it.]
What does this lead to? Lots of problems.
People complain about finding Islam difficult to practice and how they have so many problems. You will find that with many of them, you can narrow the issue down to three things:
1) Not knowing tawheed (worshipping Allah alone)
2) Keeping away from the Quran and not reciting it, or not understanding it if one recites it (this is one of the things that leads to Point No. 1)
3) Not preserving the five daily prayers*
[*Note: This phrase just refers to the obligatory prayers not all the voluntary prayers associated with each prayer.]
If people just worked on these three things, they would see a HUGE difference in their lives.
The first thing that I’m going to focus on is how to go about understanding the Quran. The advice is directed to complete beginners as well as those who are slightly better than that.
Yes, obviously we have to learn Arabic. However, this is a long step and there is another step that one can and should take in the beginning.
What’s that? Well, it’s reading the translation of the Quran.
A question for you, the reader (assuming that you cannot understand Arabic): Have you read the entire translation of the Quran from one cover to the next?
If the answer is no, then don’t you think that this is not befitting for a Muslim?
That may sound harsh, but you know that it’s the truth.
So, where do we start? Well, let me start by telling you how I started.
When I first started practicing Islam, I realised that I hadn’t a clue about the meaning of the Quran. So I took a translation, which had lots of explanatory notes and started to read it.
I would recite the Quran and then read the translation. As I read through it, I started to take notes about points that confused me.
It was a nice translation. However, I later learnt that this translation had many errors.
Somewhere around this time, I also started to listen to a translation of the Quran whilst driving. It had the recitation of Sudais and Shuraim and the translation of Pickthall (rahimahullah). [This one has a few mistakes but overall it is quite good.]
I loved this translation for two reasons:
1) Pickthall uses old English which is richer than the current English, so it of sort helps one to understand the beauty of the Quran much better.
2) The one who read out the translation was absolutely fabulous. [Sorry, I couldn’t think of a better way to put it.]
He had a very clear, commanding voice and he was really into the whole thing. [You’ll understand if you listen to it and then compare it to the other readers. HUGE DIFFERENCE.]
I can’t recall if I finished this one or not, but I did listen to quite a bit of it.
After I had finished reading the first translation (it took me quite a few months), I took another translation. This time, I took the nine volume work of Muhsin Khan and Taqiuddin Hilali (rahimahullah). This is not the one volume work, but rather an extended version of that with more notes, so it’s basically a tafsir (commentary). [It’s available in Darussalam.]
Again, I recited and then read the translation. It took me a year to finish it but it was great. I took notes for this one as well.
After this, I moved on to the Saheeh Internation translation. It was very nice. I can’t remember if I finished it. I think I went through a large portion.
I vaguely remember stopping it for two reasons:
1) There were some printing errors in the Arabic text (in my copy).
2) I found that having the Arabic translation was harming me because I could now understand most of the Quran. I had been studying Arabic and doing hifdh (Quran memorisation) for the last few years and it had all started to come together, alhamdulillah.
For a short time, I also read from a word-to-word translation. It was very nice and my vocabulary increased. I can’t remember how far I progressed.
After this, I started to use a mushaf (i.e. the Quran) which had Tafsir Al-Jalalyn in Arabic, along with some corrections (due to some creedal errors that it contains).
The reason I got this one was because it explains the difficult words in the Quran in simpler Arabic. So, I would recite and if I didn’t understand the meaning of an ayah (verse), I would check its tafsir.
For example, I came across the word “maqaaleed”. I hadn’t a clue what that meant. I checked the tafsir and it said “mafaateeh”. I knew what that meant – keys.
I absolutely loved this tafsir. It was absolutely beautiful. I’ve been meaning to recite it from cover to cover but I haven’t done so yet.
I now use my hifdh mushaf for my recitation as well (easier to carry around), although I think I might switch to another one with tafsir.
So, what benefits did I gain from all this? Well, three very important ones:
1) I got an overview of the whole Quran
2) I came across so many ayaat (verses) that I was amazed to read (“Wow, the Quran has all these stories?” or ‘Wow, the Quran tells us how to behave?”).
[I mentioned some of this in my Quran Journal post.]
3) My Arabic improved.
The more I read of the Quran, the more I became enamoured with it and the more that I wanted to read.
I also finally understood why two of my religious friends, may Allah reward them, kept advising me to read the whole translation.
The Quran really does have a powerful effect on one’s soul and this is exactly why Shaytan (the devil) keeps us away from it.
So, what can you do?
Well, you could do exactly what I did. It worked for me, didn’t it?
“Isn’t there an easier way?”
Well, I came across the statement of an agnostic Jew, in a lecture I attended, where she stated that she wanted to know what was in the Quran (not a truth seeker, just for “knowledge”.) She had already written a book about the sunni-shia divide so she was familiar with Islamic history so she could understand the setting in which the Quran was revealed.
She then took four translations of the Quran along with an English – Arabic dictionary (this is what I recall) and then read the whole translation!
So, no there is no “easier” way. Subhan Allah, if a disbeliever can do all this, we can and should do even more.
The reason that I shared my story was so that 1) you would realise that you’re not the first one to go through this and 2) you know that I am not suggesting something that I read in an article but rather something that I went through personally.
The reason that I shared the Jew’s story was to totally shame you into taking action.
So, insha-Allah, in the next part, I’ll try to give you a few (detailed) suggestions along with the required resources (if available).
[Why wait until Part 2? Because I’m too sleepy right now. Sorry. Please excuse all the editing and spelling errors in this post.]
Any comments, suggestions, doubts, etc? If so, please feel free to share, baarakallahu feekum.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Brother Abu Taubah (of The FIKS fame) is offering free classes in Ramadan. The topics are basically centered around the Quran e.g. manners of dealing with the Quran.
The classes are held daily and recordings are available.
You can read more about the classes here.
In order to view the classes, go to this link and sign in with guest access. Then choose the Ramadan classes.
Insha-Allah, we should all benefit from these classes because what I’ve seen from Abu Taubah’s classes is that he goes into a lot of depth (but does so in a way that everyone can understand).
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Last year, I had linked to the summarisation of the first 12 ajzaa (plural of juz) of the Quran.
That was by Brother Abu Taubah.
Last year, he had another series on summarising each Juz which was aired on some channel.
That series is being uploaded on this website juz by juz on a daily basis so that everyone can get a chance to view it before the taraweeh prayers of that day*.
[For the newbies: The Quran has 30 ajzaa, so the imams generally recite 1 Juz a day so as to complete the whole Quran in Ramadan.]
The summaries should help both with the taraweeh and understanding of the Quran, insha-Allah.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Reminder: Productive Ramadan is back up.]
Okay, so I said that I wouldn’t be linking to any more articles at present, and after that post, I haven’t.
Today, I came across this heart-warming and thought-provoking article on the importance of learning Arabic and I think it is something that everyone needs to read, especially now that Ramadan is almost here.
Here’s the article.
Read it carefully because it has SO MANY points of benefit. [Read the footnotes as well.]
Note to the sisters: Read the last part very, very carefully. [Umm Zakee’s notes can be downloaded here.]
Insha-Allah, I hope that those who don’t know Arabic ponder over this article and then decide to start learning Arabic ASAP.