Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

In an effort to help me review my Tafseer lessons from my AlHuda Institute Taleem-ul-Qur’an course, I will–Insha’Allah, God willing–be posting short comments from the meanings of various verses in the Qur’an. I hope these points will also be of benefit to others. For those who are not familiar with the program, the Taleem-ul-Qur’an course is a course that takes the student through the whole Qur’an word-by-word, verse-by-verse. By the end of the course, one must be able to understand the Qur’an word-for-word as well as know the Arabic roots of each word. A general tafseer is also given of the verses.

One learns the connections between the various words and their ayat on the micro-level, and on a more macro-level, one learns the connections between the themes within each surah as well as the relationships between each of the surahs themselves. The course does not produce scholars, it’s goal is more humble and yet no less important–it is to help each student develop an intimate connection to the Qur’an, such that she understands it in its own language, and such that she understands the messages it contains for her as an individual.

I had met a few students of this course before joining myself, and each managed to convey this almost ethereal connection that they had developed to the Qur’an, and they had an incredibly humble feeling of transformation in their life after immersing themselves in the beauties of the Noble Book. They are the ones who encouraged me to begin on this journey of study, and I am utterly grateful to them for setting such a beautiful example. I can only hope that by passing on a few morsels of knowledge in writing here I am able to continue igniting the passion for knowledge, if only in one person.


Read Full Post »

“And ordain for us that which is good, in this life and in the Hereafter: for we have turned unto You.” He said: “With My punishment I visit whom I will; but My mercy extends to all things. I shall ordain it for those who do right, and practice regular charity, and those who believe in Our signs.”

Qur’an: Al-A’raaf: 156

I love this verse, for a few reasons:

  • The du’aa: We ask for goodness in both this life and the hereafter, and to seek goodness in this life does not imply a lack of spirituality. Of course for one to only focus on this world would be blameworthy, but the believer seeks goodness everywhere.
  • It gives us an example of making du’aa by our good deeds. We ask for good in this life and the hereafter by virtue of the fact that we have turned to Allah: “Innaa hudnaa ilayk.”
  • Of course if we fall short in turning to Allah, when we recite this, we feel somewhat ashamed that we are claiming to have turned to Allah. In order to make one’s recitation truthful, one feels compelled to actually enact the seeking of guidance in one’s life.
  • Allah speaks to us in the first person–what greater honor is this?
  • Allah reminds us of his punishment, but describes it as something limited to those whom He wills. However, his mercy is described in bountiful terms: “My Mercy extends to all things.” It sends a ray of hope into the life of the believer.
  • Lest the reader become too complacent with the notion of Allah’s mercy automatically extending to him regardless of his actions, Allah explains who is most deserving of mercy: “I shall ordain it for those who do right, and practice regular charity, and those who believe in Our signs.” Thus, our receiving this mercy is predicated on our belief, taqwaa, and acts of goodness. The verse serves as an encouragement for us to perfect these matters in our life.

Read Full Post »

As I was going through some of my old writing, I found an article I wrote in December 2002 for the Muslim Link newspaper. It was about Du’aa, specifically the du’aas made by children in the month of Ramadan. At the time I was teaching in Al-Huda School in College Park, Maryland, and a short story that I narrated at the end of the piece made me really miss my days teaching there. I had forgotten this story, and I include it below as it is a touching reminder:

…an experience with a group of first grade girls may illustrate the intensely personal nature of du’aa. As I sat with a group of these students, I asked them to raise their hands and silently ask Allah for something. We then went around the circle and each person shared what they made du’aa for. Each shared their du’aas, but when we reached to one child, she simply sat quietly and shook her head from side to side. “Would you like to share your du’aa with us?” Again, a silent “no” as her head slowly turned right to left. “Well, even though we didn’t get to hear your du’aa, do you think Allah heard it?” This time, her head indicated a “yes” as a smile came over her face. Not wanting to push her, I let her know that it was perfectly okay to keep her du’aa private, but that she could feel free to share it with me alone if she felt comfortable. After I dismissed the girls to their seats to write down their du’aas, the child came up to me, alone. Perhaps now she would share her du’aa with me, I thought. Yet she had something else in mind. Slowly and deliberately, trying hard to get each letter out correctly, she said: “Jazaakumullaahu khairan.” May Allah reward you with goodness… For what, I wondered?

“Wa iyyaaki,” I responded, shaking her small hand. And to you too. At that instant, I realized that she was thanking me for understanding her own need to speak to Allah alone; to tell Him a personal request, knowing that it would be kept private between herself and Allah, and trusting that in this blessed month of Ramadan, it would surely be accepted.

Read Full Post »