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
[Note: I forgot to mention one thing with regards to reciting the Quran: we are supposed to MOVE OUR LIPS.
It seems that some people think that one can recite “mentally”. They do this in the silent prayers too!
No, we need to MOVE OUR LIPS.]
In the last part, I had promised some resources for understanding the Quran so here goes:
1) Word to word translations:
This one by Brother Muhammad Mohar Ali is supposed to be quite good as well, and it also gives the root words apparently (this is good for those studying grammar).
It’s available in Darussalam (in Sharjah).
Oh and here’s a nice software for mobile phones.
Some (free) online websites which provide the word to word translation are:
[Note: I haven’t checked all of them thoroughly. It’s always better to use more than one resource so as to be able to catch any errors. You can always pray Salatul Istikhara (prayer for guidance) before trying any of these out.]
The following three sites seem to come from the same source. The last one is still new (and is still being worked on).
I would advice caution with the above sites, especially the last three ones as some of the founders seem to believe in “self-studying” the Quran.
If you’re looking to learn Quranic vocabulary, you might want to use a Quranic dictionary which introduces the NEW words in a juz.
Here are two good ones:
2) Various tafsirs of the Quran:
Well, I suppose this is a good time as any to advertise one of my other blogs:
The aim of this blog is to gather all the authentic articles and lectures of tafsir out there, insha-Allah.
What books of tafsir are out there?
Well, there’s an abridged version of Tafsir ibn Kathir available online.
The print version is available at Darussalam.
One of my friends (who reads a LOT of Islamic literature) found Tafsir Ibn Kathir a bit “difficult” to understand. I was shocked to hear this from her (of all people).
So, my question to all of you is: How many of you feel the same way? And why?
[And no, I’m not asking just for the sake of asking. I have an idea, you see.]
Another tafsir (sort of) that you can read is the 9 volume version of Muhsin Khan’s translation. It has lots more notes than the 1 volume one. It’s also available at Darussalam.
[Question: Why is it that most people don’t know that this set exists?]
Another basic tafsir that is available in English is Tafsir Ahsanul Bayan. It’s originally an Urdu work, and is quite good according to a friend of mine. The Urdu book is supposed to be just one volume but the translation is 3 volumes (and counting as they still haven’t finished the whole set)!
Why? “The font is bigger”, said the Darussalam guy.
What about other tafsirs?
Well, there are some tafsir sets which go through the whole Quran. However, they have mistakes in them. I don’t think that they are beneficial for laymen at all which is why I’m not going to mention them here.
Apart from these, there are various books which focus on just one surah like Dr. Bilal’s Tafsir Surah Al-Hujuraat. These are an excellent source of tafsir as well.
To be continued…
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Here’s Part 1.]
An important point regarding reciting the Quran:
I’ve noticed that many people do not recite the Quran daily and they do not recite it in order.
What do I mean by “in order”? Well, one is supposed to recite the Quran from Al-Fatihah, then move on to Al-Baqarah and so on until one reaches Surah An-Naas (the last Surah).
After that, one returns to Al-Fatihah and starts all over again.
That’s what the Sahaabah (the Companions of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam)) did. Some of them recited the whole Quran in a month, others completed it in a week and still others finished it in three days.
[Yes, that may sound impossible but it’s not.]
I asked a couple of sisters about how they recited the Quran and they said they just picked up the mushaf and recited the parts that they liked. Well, okay that’s fine but one should also attempt to recite from start to finish, even if that takes a year.
Also, it seems that some people have gotten confused about the fact that the Sahaabah used to study ten ayaat (verses) of the Quran at a time. Yes, they did but this was apart from their daily recitation.
Apart from reciting the Quran in order, one should sure to recite some of it daily even if you can only manage to recite a few verses. Don’t sleep without doing that, no matter how tired you are.
Just think about this: What if you were in bed and you realised that the gas stove was switched on or that you had left your car keys in your car (some people do that!)? Would you still go to sleep?
No! You’d jump out of bed and solve the problem.
So, if you’re in bed and you realise that you haven’t recited your daily portion of the Quran, then get up and do it. This way, you’ll make sure that it becomes a habit.
Oh and please remember to recite with tajweed. The whole point of learning how to recite properly is to….well, recite properly.
3) To understand it
In order to understand the Quran, one needs to understand Arabic.
I’ve put some tips up on my series on learning Arabic (here’s Part 5).
I should point out a few things here:
a) Even if you don’t understand Arabic, you can still understand the Quran to some degree by using a translation.
Try to use more than one so that you end up getting a more complete picture of the portion that you are reciting. The two most accurate translations are the Muhsin Khan one and the Saheeh international one. You could also use a word to word translation of the Quran.
[Yesterday, I heard of a story of an agnostic Jew who read 4 translations side by side and also used an Arabic dictionary along with it!]
For those of you who are struggling to recite and understand the Quran, you could use the following site:
http://tanzil.net – It has both audio and translation. You could play each ayah, then recite after it and then read the translation.
b) Translations are not enough.
You know, I’m in the process of listening to a rather wonderful lecture series by one of my teachers entitled “How can you understand the Quran?”
The sad news (for those that don’t understand Arabic) is that this series is in Arabic. [For those of you who can understand Arabic, you can download it here.]
Now, the purpose of me mentioning that was not to rub it in your faces, rather it was to make you ponder.
Why would ARABS need to know how to understand the Quran? Don’t they know Arabic?
Yes, they can understand the words but that does not necessitate that they understand the intended meaning of the ayaat (verses).
Unfortunately, many people think that they can study the Quran on their own by just understanding the meaning of the words. This is not correct.
Why not? Because when Allah revealed the Quran, He also sent a Prophet to explain His Book, so we need to refer back to him (salallahu alaihi wasallam) and his Companions (radiallahu anhum) in order to understand the meaning of the ayaat and the context in which they were revealed.
So, one needs a tafsir (explanation) to fully understand the Quran. And one is not enough. If you are able to read ten, then you should read ten. If you can read a hundred, then you should read a hundred. The Quran is a treasure. Reading just one tafsir is not going to give you the whole treasure.
Apart from the tafsir, one should also try to study the sciences of the Quran. These deal with the language of the Quran, the reasons for revelation of various ayaat, etc.
Insha-Allah, in the next part, I’ll mention some word-to-word websites and books, various tafsir books as well as some courses and books on the sciences of the Quran.
[And yes, I will only mention English resources…]
c) Don’t forget the whole point of learning all this stuff.
We’re not in a race to see who will read the most books. However, we are in a race to see who will have the highest iman and who will have the most amount of good deeds.
So, the point is not to finish as many tafsirs as possible. What is the point of studying the Quran then? The point of studying the Quran and its sciences is to ponder over its message.
The message? It’s tawheed (worshipping Allah alone). The whole Quran is just about that one topic. It introduces us to Allah, His Power, His Mercy, His Majesty and His other attributes* and it tells us what we need to do in order to get closer to Him. It also talks about what awaits those who follow His orders and what awaits those who don’t.
[*Remember that the Quran is the Speech of Allah and hence is one of His attributes as well.]
Unfortunately, many people today will talk about the Quran and discuss everything except tawheed. It’s sad but true.
So, we should not be like them. Rather, we should strive to remember the purpose of reciting the Quran whilst doing so.
To be continued…
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Subhan Allah, it’s amazing. I’ve noticed that when topics like “dawah” or “hijab” or “Hajj” or “Ramadan” or “the biography of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam)”, are discussed, many people flock to listen.
However, when the topic is aqeedah (creed) then………most of the people vanish.
And why is that, I wonder? The most important thing that a Muslim needs to have is the correct aqeedah. Everything else (ibaadah, good manners, etc) follows after that.
I’ve mentioned the importance of tawheed and aqeedah before and I’ll do so again.
[Note: Tawheed means “worshipping Allah alone” whereas Aqeedah is something that one firmly believes in and follows. So, our aqeedah is the aqeedah of tawheed.
Aqeedah is more general than tawheed. You can read a short explanation of this issue here.]
This is what Imam As-Saadi (rahimahullah) had to say about tawheed:
“There is nothing that produces such good results nor holds such a variety of virtues like tawheed”. [For more virtues of tawheed, you may refer to the article where this quote was taken from.]
Tawheed has different branches. One of those is the tawheed of Allah’s Names and Attributes.
As the scholars pointed out, the greatness of a subject depends on the greatness of its subject matter.
What does the tawheed of Allah’s Names and Attributes discuss? Well, it talks about Allah’s Beautiful Names and His Attributes which means that it is talking about Allah Himself.
Is there a subject matter greater than this? No.
Therefore, this is the greatest subject.
Also, one should realise that they cannot get close to Allah without knowing anything about Him! The more one knows about Allah’s Names and His Attributes, the more that they will love and obey Him.
So, if someone is interested in studying this subject, what should he/she do?
Well, the first thing to do is to make sure that you learn it from a person with proper aqeedah, because if you don’t, you’re finished. Your aqeedah will be in tatters if you ever study this great subject with any of the people of innovation.
Also, one should know that this field talks about two matters: 1) Allah’s Names and 2) His Attributes so one should study both matters.
A point of caution: This is not an easy subject although it is a very important one. So be patient, strive hard, and ask Allah to make it easy for you.
For those who might want to learn more about Allah’s Attributes, I would encourage them to read Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen’s (rahimahullah) explanation of Al-Aqeedah Al-Wasitiyyah.
Al-Aqeedah Al-Wasitiyyah is a book written by the amazing scholar Ibn Taimiyyah (rahimahullah) (he was the teacher of Imams Ibn Kathir and Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahumullah)) and it basically focus on the Attributes of Allah and what the Quran and the Sunnah say about them.
Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen was an awesome scholar, maasahaa Allah, who died about 10 years ago. He had a really wonderful way of explaining things so all the hard stuff looks easy.
I read Volume 1 of the translation of his book (the explanation of Al-Aqeedah Al-Wasitiyyah) and I loved it. Why?
– Well, it’s about my favourite subject (tawheed)
– He makes it so easy and tries to give many examples so that a person can understand the concept.
– His tafsir.
I know, you might be like “Tafsir? Isn’t that an explanation of the Quran? What does that have to do with a book on Aqeedah?”
Well, because a vast majority of the book are ayaat (verses) from the Quran and because he explains each of them, this book really ends up doubling as a book of tafsir.
[And Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen’s tafsir is another story. I need to write another post just to tell you how much I love reading his tafsir.]
– The heart softeners.
You know, there is nothing as heart softening as tawheed.
In this explanation, Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen keeps talking about “behavioural aspects” meaning how the knowledge of such and such attribute must make us behave. So, rather than being a technical book on tawheed, his explanation is very practical and useful for daily life.
So, am I going to link to this explanation? No, because it’s not online (not that I know of).
There is a summarised translation of this explanation online but it seems to be a quarter of the original size.
How can you get your hands on the two volume copy? Well, Darussalam is the one that published this book so you may it buy from them.
This is what the book looks like: http://store.dar-us-salam.com/nw/242.html
Just a few points:
1) Darussalam has another explanation of Al-Aqeedah Al-Wasitiyyah as well. That is a small book but the one that I’m talking about is much more detailed.
2) For those of you who might want to buy the Arabic copy and live in Dubai, I’d advise you to buy it from Al-Furqan bookstore. That’s where I bought my Arabic copy from and it’s a wonderful edition.
3) Would I recommend this book to complete beginners? Well, no. I think one should have some background of tawheed otherwise they might get a bit confused.
4) The book doesn’t just talk about Allah’s Attributes. There’s loads of other stuff mentioned there as well.
5) I’m not too good with book reviews but I hope that the post encourages you to read this book!
6)Yes, yes, yes. Anyone who knows me personally can borrow my Arabic or English copies, insha-Allah.
[For those of you who’ve subscribed to my Tafsir blog, I’ve already put up this article there a long time ago.]
A couple of weeks ago, at the beginning of Ramadan, I was really down in the dumps due to an ongoing problem. I really felt like I was at the end of the rope.
I remembered an article I had on patience so I decided to read through that. And subhan Allah, it really changed my outlook and gave me a lot of hope, alhamdulillah.
It was the tafsir (explanation) of a few ayaat (verses) of Surah Al-Baqarah:
“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Saabirin (the patient ones, etc.). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” They are those on whom are the Salawaat (i.e. blessings, etc.) (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) :155-157]
I thought perhaps someone out there might be down in the dumps today and might need cheering up, so I thought I would share this once more.
Here’s the article: Patience in Times of Calamities
I hope that it helps, insha-Allah.
Still struggling to ramp up your iman in Ramadan? Sadly, you’re not alone.
Here’s a short article by Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzan. He talks about how we need to train our souls to be obedient to Allah and in the process, he gives eye-opening explanations of many ayaat in the Quran.
So please take some time out to read it and ponder over it: Joy because of the Coming of Ramadan by Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzan.
In an earlier post, I mentioned some tips to focus on Taraweeh and uploaded a file which contains the contents of each juz.
For those who prefer to listen, here’s a summarisation of the first 12 Ajzaa of the Quran.
[Note: That’s my tafsir blog. I’ll add all the tafsir related stuff there, and not on this (i.e. the Ramadan) blog. So, if you’re interested, please try to subscribe to it or check it regularly. I’ll try to post regularly, insha-Allah.]