Make That Recitation Count!

I received this in my inbox this morning from Productive Muslim: It’s a very beneficial article, may Allah reward them Ameen.

I do find it true that your mind do get distracted when you’re reciting at times, and it really requires effort to bring it back to focus. And I also do find it true that reciting after fajr, being in a focused state of mind, having wudhu all help in keeping that focus.

For me, I recite a page repeatedly for memorisation, so, a lot of times, in that repeated recitation, my mind wanders, and I noticed that when that happens, it becomes harder for me to grasp it in my memory as opposed to if I am paying attention to the meaning of what I’m reciting. When I am paying attention to the meaning, even my intonation and rhythm will change, and I will feel it so much more, subhanallah.

I do still struggle with making wudhu though, especially when it’s cold, but I have also forced myself to do it, remembering that on the Day of Judgment, those who make wudhu properly, will have shining limbs, and it also feels weird to not have wudhu when you’re about to sit, touch the Quran, and commit it to memory. It just feels inappropriate.

As for setting goals for practicing, ahh….this is an ongoing process that is at times difficult for me. When I was doing Taleem Quran, it was a part time course. At times, or rather many times, I felt that it was too fast. I would at times wish that it would go slower so I could absorb the practical lessons that Quran is teaching. I wanted to share the lessons and many times, after class, I felt somewhat overwhelmed with the beauty of the Quran, that I didn’t know where to start sharing. It was like the miracle of the Quran and its beauty were flowing through my fingers as I typed and composed the lessons that had personally struck me for that evening. Even now, as I am going back to the beginning and going through it again, it’s like going through it the first time.

You enter a different stage in your life all the time, for our lives are dynamic in nature. Change is a constant. So, our experiences, troubles, mindset, etc are all changing by and by. So, turning to the Quran again and again gives you a different experience each time. The same ayah can impact you in a certain way one day and in another way the next day.

I was recently worrying about some health issues in the family, and I was starting to get a bit down in the dumps about it. That morning, because of something occurring in my schedule, I didn’t open the mushaf right after fajr. I only opened it later on. But from after fajr till the moment I opened the Quran, my heart was restless and filled with worry. I was even feeling snappy with the kids.

When I open up my mushaf and started reciting the page I was on, I received the consolation in these ayaat:

 

2:155
Sahih International

And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, [Al Baqarah 2:155]

2:156
Sahih International

Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return.”[Al Baqarah 2:156]

2:157
Sahih International

Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.[Al Baqarah 2:157]

Subhanallah…I felt like I should have opened the mushaf first thing in the morning after fajr and azhkaar. Then I might not have been plagued so much by those worries. It would have set me in the proper mindset and frame of mind to start the morning, subhanallah. If only I had opened the Quran sooner that day. And I’m still reciting this page of the mushaf and will be reciting it inshaaAllah throughout the week. How Al Lateef and Al Aleem and Al Khabeer is Allah! At the time when I most need it, the Quran provides me with my source of reminder and consolation.

These are the very ayaat that personally also struck me when Julaybib ‘happened’.

I went back one page and realized this ayah:

2:152
Sahih International

So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.[Al Baqarah 2:152]

2:153
Sahih International

O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.[Al Baqarah 2:153]

I was reciting these ayaat last week, again and again. Subhanallah, it’s as if Allah is preparing me for this week with these 2 ayaat.
Keep up with your azhkaar, with your ‘remembrance of Allah’ routine. Think of the things that you have, not that that you don’t have. Adopt a grateful attitude through it. To enhance that, engage in patience and prayer. Patience is of 3 components:-
  1. maintaining consistency in obedience of Allah
  2. maintaining consistency in abstaining from disobedience of Allah
  3. not reacting negatively upon being afflicted with hardship

#1 and #2 are more difficult than #3 believe it or not. If one can do #1 and #2, Allah will make it easy for him to do #3, because when you remember Allah in times of ease, Allah will remember you in times of difficulty.When we only turn to Him when we’re in trouble, but ignore Him when we’re in ease, this doesn’t reflect an attitude of gratitude. It’s like when a friend only contacts you when she needs a favor, but otherwise ignores you and practically leaves you out when she’s having fun. However, Allah is more Ar rahmaan ar raheem. He aids His creations in their times of need even when they have been abandoning Him all this time.

This was the advice given to me years ago, when I was going through something that was  personally very trying. #1 includes fazhkuroonee-> azhkurkum. #2 includes wa laa takfuroon. #1 also includes wasta3eenoo bi sabri wassalah.

How can one be patient? It’s most times treated as a noun when given as an advice, and it can be irritating for some people. But Allah gives us an action item in this. Being patient is those 3 things above, and another action item Allah adds is the prayer. Sometimes, when you’re distressed, you feel like you need to DO something. This is when some people would resort to eating ice cream mindlessly, or any junk food for that matter. Or taking drugs. The goal is to do something so as to distract oneself from one’s problems. Here Allah gives a practical solution; perform prayer. Engage in it, connect with Allah. He is your source of comfort. Complain to Him. Tell Him your problems, even though He already knows them. Talk to Him.

Humans, especially the female species, tend to want to unload their troubles to another human being. But Allah is there, all the time. He doesn’t have any office hours. All we need to do is turn to Him, whenever, whereever. Allah has provided so much ease in this deen. We are the ones who make it complicated..

A dear sister and friend(the same one who gave me the above advice) shared this with me:

“When I’m feeling distressed, I have this habit of just opening up the mushaf randomly, and usually, the answer or consolation to my troubles or dilemma is in the page that I open.” [paraphrased]

Subhanallah. How many of us truly engage with this Quran? How much importance do we give it? Really. This Quran should be that huge reference book in our house that we turn to again and again so much so that the covers are almost falling apart (the aim is not to have the covers fall apart, people), the pages look ‘used’, and the content and lessons uploaded onto our hearts.

Years ago, I was sitting in a gathering of sisters. One sister was holding her Quran, which looked really ‘beat up’. Another sister directly reprimanded her,

“Oh, with our Quran, we wouldn’t let it get like that. It’s all kept nice and high up.”

I distinctly remember this incident. I also remember, when I was still on facebook, I had put up a photo of my new arrangement of my cake pans (which I have a lot due to my obsession with baking and cake decorating years ago) on top of my kitchen cabinets. When my mother saw the photo, she remarked,

“Looks like you’re not going to bake that often!”

And she’s right. Because it’s so high up, I grew too lazy to get them. This is not to say that the sister didn’t read her Quran much. Who am I to know that? She’s right in respecting the Quran and keeping it high up. However, the fact that the other sister’s Quran looks beat up, doesn’t imply that she doesn’t respect it.

One thing I really appreciate living here, is that you get experiences and lessons in tolerance. You get to see different sides of the equations. In the east, the reverence for the Quran is such that it is abominable to have it look like it’s been leafed through so much that its beautiful cover with golden calligraphy is falling apart. In the west, the reverence for the Quran is such that the condition of the mushaf itself is secondary to engagement in its understanding. The thing is, both are correct. I always say, if all the Muslim nations come together, we would get all the disparate strengths of following the Quran and Sunnah in one whole body and revive the true Islam. I know. I am not naive to realize that it can also produce a lot more civil wars. But let’s look on the bright side.

Anyway, may Allah make us of the people of Quran and fulfill its rights upon us. Ameen.

 

 

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