Home | Writers | Fatwas | Media | Donate | Explore | About Us | Contact | Our Sheikh
Becoming One of Allah's Special People

EsinIslam Ramadan Explorer

By Maryam Amir Ebrahimi

Muslim Writer

I was not a conscientious Muslim. As I entered my freshman year of high school, I had one very specific goal which I was determined to accomplish: to become popular. "Piety" was not consistent with this goal - at least not in my perspective.

It was for this reason that I expressed disdain when my dad announced we would be undertaking the religious journey to Mecca in the summer following my freshman year of high school.

I recall telling a friend, "Man, I'm scared. I don't want to change!" I knew people went to Mecca and then became super religious. I didn't want that to happen to me.

Mecca

As we entered the Grand Mosque, my dad told my mom, my brother, and me to keep our eyes down until we reached the opening of the Masjid, until we were in a space which would allow for our first glimpse of the House of Allah , the Ka'ba, to be in our full view.

As we walked through the halls of the Grand Mosque, I heard my mom and dad crying. I knew this was supposed to be a spiritual experience. I could see that they were going through something incredible, but I felt nothing.

I felt absolutely nothing. Finally, we approached steps which led to a great opening. At this point, my dad instructed, "Look up." ALLAH! In that moment, my vision was suddenly filled with the beloved Ka'ba. As if awakened from the dead, as if beating for the first time, my heart was immediately gripped indescribably.

It suddenly filled with this unexplainable, fully tangible presence of the Creator of the Universe. I began to bawl; I was struck with the realization that this feeling, this closeness to God, could only happen because He truly exists.

I began to regret all I had done and all the time I had wasted; I began circumambulating the Ka`bah, weeping, begging Allah (exalted is He) to forgive me.

When we returned to America, I had difficulty maintaining my spiritual awakening. I decided that I would begin to read the Qur'an.

I reasoned that I could watch hours of television a day and so, at the very least, I had an obligation to read at least five pages a day. I hadn't touched the Qur'an in years.

I'm not Arab, I was not raised knowing Arabic; I had just learnt how to read the letters when joined together when I was really young, like many Muslim children.

I hadn't practiced reading Arabic in so many years that I was painfully slow at it; reading five pages easily turned into an hour ordeal, if not longer. I didn't understand anything I read, but I kept trying.

One day, my mom passed by my room and suggested, "Maryam, why don't you read it in English? At least then you'll understand what you're reading." To me, this was a lucrative suggestion; I was a really fast reader in English.

If I read half the page in English and half of it in Arabic, it'd take much less time to get through five pages a day. I began and I transformed. Reading the Qur'an in English and being able to come to an understanding of what its message conveyed captivated me.

I began to change internally and it slowly took hold of my external being; my thoughts, my intentions, my actions... I slowly began to internalize a conscientiousness that revolutionized my life.

I was mesmerized by the Qur'an and it was then that I decided I would undertake memorizing it. It took me over seven years to memorize the Qur'an. In the time span that I spent memorizing, I had other responsibilities simultaneously.

I was either studying or working full time (or a combination of both), I was the president or lead figure of an organization or community work, and I had familial responsibilities.

The only time I was able to focus almost completely on the Qur'an was when I moved to Egypt for eleven months, in which I dedicated about two hours a day to memorization while I also studied Arabic and did Arabic homework for about seven hours of the day.

However, the majority of the memorization occurred in America, amidst a crazy schedule. I memorized while I had to take care of life responsibilities; you, too, can memorize while taking care of business.

10 Tips for Serious Seekers of the Qur'an

1- Realize the Reason, Know Allah is Your Guide

- Why memorize the Qur'an? Because it will give you a constant, incredible, and personally special relationship with The Creator, with The Sustainer, with The One Who has power over all things.

- You want the best of both worlds? It's through the Qur'an. It's through memorizing, understanding, loving and most importantly, living it.

- When one is sincere about memorizing it, one needs to be completely aware of the heavy responsibility and glorified honor of living as Allah's servant and carrying His words in their hearts. This must translate into their actions. The key: Sincerity.

Make the Intention to Invest in Your Akhira (Hereafter)

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us, 'The Qur'an will meet its companion on the Day of Resurrection when his grave is opened for him, in the form of a pale man.

It will say to him, 'Do you recognize me?' He will say: 'I do not recognize you.' It will say: 'I am your companion the Qur'an, who kept you thirsty on hot days and kept you awake at night.

Every merchant benefits from his business and today you will benefit from your good deeds.' He will be given dominion in his right hand and eternity in his left, and there will be placed on his head a crown of dignity, and his parents will be clothed with priceless garments the like of which have never been seen in this world.

They will say: 'Why have we been clothed with this?' It will be said: 'Because your son used to recite Qur'an.' Then it will be said to him: 'Recite and ascend in the degrees of Paradise,' and he will continue to ascend so long as he recites, either at a fast pace or a slow pace.' (Ahmad and Ibn Majah)

2- Know that Allah is with You

- Allah Most High says in a Hadith Qudsi (record containing the words of God), "When my servant takes one step towards Me, I take ten steps towards him. When my servant comes walking towards me, I come running towards him."

Recognize that you are not alone; that it is the One Who revealed these words Who will help you learn and retain them. The struggle must begin with the servant, but the Lord is the One Who will continually open the way and aid you through the struggle.

- When it's Hard, There is Twice the Reward

- Wait, what? You don't understand Arabic? Wait, what? You aren't Arab? Wait, you're Arab, but your tajweed (rules of recitation/pronunciation) is really off?

For you, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) has shared words of encouragement, "Such a person who recites the Qur'an and masters it by heart, will be with the noble righteous scribes (in Heaven).

And such a person exerts himself to learn the Qur'an by heart, and recites it with great difficulty, will have a double reward," (Muslim).

3- Start Correctly and Use Technology

- Find a Teacher or Qur'an Buddy, Learn tajweed and Work Consistently

- When I first decided I would commit to memorizing, I found a teacher and told her I was ready.

But I had never studied tajweed and my recitation was completely incorrect! She asked me, "Do you want to memorize, or do you want to memorize correctly? There is no point in memorizing it wrong and then having to go back and do it all over again."

- The most difficult test I came across with memorizing the Qur'an was not being able to find a consistent teacher. This sometimes led to many months of not memorizing anything and only working on review.

When I didn't find a teacher, I turned to friends who could help me with my tajweed and we became Qur'an buddies.

On campus, over the phone, in cars in random parking lots, in-between running from one meeting to another, we would recite to one another and we would keep each other in check until we were able to find teachers. A teacher (or if you can't find one, a Qur'an buddy) is CRITICAL to progress with the Qur'an.
 

EsinIslam Ramadan Team

©  EsinIslam.Com

Add Comments

 
Home | Writers | Fatwas | Media | Donate | Explore | About Us | Contact | Our Sheikh
 

Comments & Debates :-: التعليقات والمحاورات





:-: Go Home :-: Go Top :-:




:-: Go Home :-: Go Top :-: