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
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
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
Last year, I put up a lecture on the rights of the Quran.
Here is a summary of its rights:
1) To believe in it
2) To recite it
3) To understand it
4) To act upon it
5) To call to it
[6) To do the above all the time]
Now, how can we can actually fulfill these rights especially with the month of the Quran almost here?
Here are some tips that might be useful, insha-Allah.
1) To believe in it
Well, here is the main obstacle that this ummah (nation) faces today when trying to keep in touch with the Quran: many Muslims secretly have doubts about the Quran.
They don’t directly say it of course but one can easily understand that they do when they say things like “Polygamy is not correct” or “Capital punishment is cruel” or “Times are different now.”
These are the same people who call for “reinterpreting the Quran”. They also reject many authentic hadeeth. Why? Well, because it goes against their beliefs.
There’s a problem here, of course. Being a Muslim means we take our beliefs from the Quran and the Sunnah. It does not mean that we come in with a bunch of pre-conceived notions then try to interpret Islam in a way that suits our desires. That is not called submission.
Submission is letting Allah and His Messenger dictate what we should and should not do.
So, how can we fulfill this right of the Quran?
Well, we need to take everything that it tells us as the truth. We need to judge everything else according to it and not the other way around.
For example, suppose someone mentions a scientific “fact” that goes against the Quran. We need to accept what the Quran says and reject this scientific “fact”.
Another way would be to learn aqeedah (creed). This is one way of increasing oneself in certainty and iman (faith).
Also, there’s a nice book, called “How to Approach and Understand the Quran” by Jamal Zarabozo, that talks about the proper way to approach the Book of Allah. [No, I don’t think that it’s online.]
2) To recite it
The proper way to recite the Quran is explained in a science known as “tajweed”.
It is mandatory for a person to read the Quran with tajweed (i.e. following the rules of recitation). Why? Well, if one recites the words incorrectly, it could lead to changing the meaning.
So, how can you recite the Quran with tajweed?
1) Get a teacher ASAP. You cannot do this alone as someone has to be there to spot your mistakes.
2) Practice, practice, practice and after that, practice some more.
What if you have no teachers in your area? Well, try to get one of those online teachers. [Warning: Some of them these online Quran teachers are cheats. A relative of mine had a bad experience with one of them.]
Also, you could try to keep listening to the ayaat (verses) over and over again.
The following websites would be helpful:
For tajweed rules, one may refer to the following websites:
[Oh and I have some useful stuff on my Haafidh blog as well.]
For those who have no way of getting a teacher, the following two series may help:
To be continued…
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
8) In order to learn Arabic, you need to learn grammar and vocabulary.
[Okay, I mean in order to learn simple Arabic. You need to learn much more than just grammar and vocabulary to go deep into the Arabic language!]
By grammar, I mean two things: sarf and nahu.
To use an example I heard, sarf involves word construction and nahu involves sentence construction.
Studying sarf is what really broke open the code of Arabic for me.
What is sarf exactly? Well, it is sort of like verb conjugation but it’s more than that. I think it would be pointless of me to explain because you won’t understand until you start studying it.
Arabic verb conjugation is something that will amaze you due to its simplicity – unlike in French where some verbs drive you crazy (devoir, pouvoir and vouloir, I’m talking to YOU).
For a quick way to learn some Sarf before Ramadan, I would suggest:
That’s basically learning about nouns, prepositions, etc. There’s no point in explaining this either because you need to study a bit of nahu before you understand how wonderful it is.
Both sarf and nahu can be tough in the beginning (especially if you are monolingual) but be patient and you’ll reap the rewards, insha-Allah.
A good place to start learning nahu would be the Madinah books. There are two websites where this book is explained:
2) LQ Toronto
The second site has basic to advanced nahu lessons. However, a little warning: In the Madina series videos, the instructor mentions the names of some deviant speakers and recommends their lectures (according to what I read on a website). If so, then please be careful.
Okay, what about the vocabulary?
Well, actually when you learn sarf, you’ll learn new vocabulary faster. See, each word in the Arabic language has some “root letters” so when you know the meaning of a set of root letters, you can figure out the meanings of all the words that are derived from it.
Let me give you an example from English (all these come from Latin):
Trans means “across, through, over, beyond, to or on the other side of, outside of”.
So, based on the above, can you guess what the following words mean?
Transform, transfer, transatlantic, translate, transition, etc.
Yes, to some degree, you’d have a general idea of what they meant.
Circum means “around, about, surrounding, on all sides”.
So, based on the above, can you guess what the following words mean?
Circumvent, circumference, circumstance, etc.
Now, you might have known what these words meant already but knowing the meaning of “circum” might have given you a deeper look into these words, thereby leading you to understanding their meanings better.
9) There are different vocabulary sets depending on what you want to understand.
If you want to understand the Quran, that’s one vocabulary set. The ahadeeth have another vocabulary set. Islamic literature has another vocabulary set (and each subject matter has it’s own vocabulary set).
If you want to study something else in Arabic, like IT or cooking, that has another vocabulary set altogether.
Of course, the above all refers to the standard Arabic. Each colloquial dialect have their own vocabulary sets as well.
Scared? Why? Isn’t this the case in every language? Think about it.
Generally speaking, sarf will help you with most of them (not the colloquial though). However, you would also need to start learning the vocabulary separately for each subject.
The first thing that you should focus on is the vocabulary of the Quran. The rest of them can come later, insha-Allah.
How can you improve on this?
Well, I can suggest three short ways before Ramadan:
– The Understand Quran courses also teach Quranic vocabulary.
– Using the dictionary of the Quran on the Understand Quran website which gives the translations of each new word, juz by juz.
– Reading the Word-to-Word translation of the Quran on a daily basis. I would recommend the Darussalam version due to its authenticity. However, the others are acceptable as well.
10) So, what will your Arabic schedule look like before Ramadan?
Well, assuming that you know how to read the Arabic letters, do not understand any Arabic at all and have not registered for any course, I would suggest:
a) Starting with the Understand Quran Short Course.
Dedicate 15 minutes in the morning to doing the course and another 15 minutes in the night to reviewing it.
b) Read at least one page of the Word-to-Word translation every day.
Write down all the new vocabulary that you’ve learnt in a notebook and keep reviewing them.
c) You could also keep listening to the Quranic recitation along with its meaning.
Here’s one with Shaikh Abdullah Basfar’s recitation (excellent tajweed).
d) After you finish all the Understand Quran lessons, you can then move on to the Madinah Arabic lessons.
Again, I should point out, that these are all suggestions. It’s okay if you don’t follow all of them. I’m just try to give you an idea of what you can start with.
Remember: The more you push yourself, the more Quran you will be able to understand in Ramadan and the more khushoo (humility) you’ll feel in the taraweeh prayers (and all the other prayers for that matter).
To be continued…
A little over 4 months to go before Ramadan starts.
We do want to understand the Taraweeh prayers this year, right?
Of course we do.
So, for those who had promised themselves that they were going to learn some Arabic before Ramadan, here’s a lecture series that provides some practical tips:
Tips on how to learn Quranic Arabic quickly and easily by Brother Mamdouh Mohamed
Part 1 (Download)
Part 2 (Download)
Part 3 (Download)
Part 4 (Download)
[When I heard this lecture series years ago, Brother Mamdouh lived somewhere in the West.
Now he lives in…Dubai. He gives lectures from time to time at the Jumeirah Islamic Learning Centre.]
I mentioned here that the classes would start tomorrow (Wednesday).
However, the teacher just sent out a message stating that it would start on Thursday morning, insha-Allah.
Level 1 is at about 6:20 am everyday for a few weeks.
Level 2 is at 8pm.
For all those who work or study in the UAE, this is an IDEAL opportunity for you. The classes are after Fajr and BEFORE you leave for work or university (for most people anyway).
We can keep saying “We really want to learn Arabic” but the proof is in the pudding.
If we don’t take advantage of such a fantastic opportunity then I think it means that we really weren’t serious about learning Arabic.
Please take these classes (you can even do it as a family!) and stick with them until they end, insha-Allah.
And please tell everyone about these classes.
[Update: It’s going to start on Wednesday and not Monday as originally stated. The teacher said he would send us a detailed schedule. When he does, Ill post it here, insha-Allah.]
Isn’t that what everybody’s been waiting for?
Well, it’s here.
A sister (may Allah reward her greatly) has put up all the details here.
Some random points:
1) Sarf = Verb conjugation. Studying sarf was what really opened up the Arabic language for me.
2) The teacher is really excellent, may Allah preserve him and reward him greatly. He’s very patient and explains things in depth.
3) He’s from the UAE which means:
a) He’s one of our own! [Sorry but Dorothy was right. There’s no place like home.]
b) All the times mentioned are UAE time, which means I and my fellow denizens of the UAE don’t have to beat our heads trying to figure out all the EST/AST/GMT business.
4) The classes start Wednesday at 6:15 am.
To all those who are truly interested in learning the Arabic language: Do NOT miss this opportunity. You might never get such a great chance again.
Just think of how it’ll feel to understand the Quran next Ramadan….