Friday, October 30, 2009

13 tips to memorize the Qur’an

Realize that memorizing the Qur’an is a spiritual and physical project. It’s a miracle and blessing from Allah that we are able to memorize the Qur’an.

If we want to take advantage of this blessing, we should be in a position to receive it. Therefore, let’s strive physically to achieve it and spiritually to get the maximum benefit. Here are 13 tips for memorizing the Qur’an

1. Sincerity
The first matter we must pay attention to is our intention. If we intend good we will get good. Make sure that the intention is for the sake of Allah alone. With this memorization, hope for Allah’s reward in the hereafter. It is not to show off in front of others that you have memorized a lot of the Qur’an. Sincerity is not a one time thing. It’s a continual battle that we always have to renew.

2. Consistency
The more frequently you memorize, the easier it becomes. It is very essential to be consistent, and not to skip even one day. There is no week-end in worship. The minimum that one should memorize is three lines – five is ideal. If we are consistent, Insha Allah, we will be able to be memorize the whole Qur’an within 5-6 years.

3. Timing
The first thing we should do in the day is memorize. Do this even before breakfast because this is our spiritual breakfast. The best time to memorize is right after Fajr.

4. Atmosphere
Go to a secluded place. Memorize in a place that is quiet. We can’t memorize properly with distractions, so turn off all your devices (like cell phones).

5. Familiarity
Start at the same time, at the same place and use the same mushaf (copy of the Qur’an) every day. We need to have our own mushaf, it will later become very dear to you.

6. No magic trick
Repeat, repeat, and repeat over and over again. It is only repetitive recitation and/or listening that will help us memorize with perfection. For more read here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

‘They have taken away all rewards’

“O, Prophet of Allah! The rich among us have taken away all the rewards,” complained the poor Companions. “They pray as we pray, they fast as we fast, but they also give wealth in charity (while we have no wealth to spend).” (Refer Imam Nawawi’s 40 Hadith for the full narration.)

The poor among the Ummah deserve a special mention because they are more often than not overlooked, their interests disregarded and their voices ignored. Throughout human history, they have always been the first to believe in the Messengers of Allah, and they will enter Jannah 500 years before everyone else.

During Ramadan last year, at the initiative of a friend, we stood at a traffic signal giving away dates, water and laban just before Iftar time for commuting people who may not have a chance otherwise to break their fast with food. We distributed all the food packs without realizing we had kept none for ourselves, which left us with no other option than breaking our fast at a masjid nearby. The adhan was called while we were heading to the masjid.

We joined the “banquet” of a people who would seldom – if ever – join ours. They were those whose names would never find place in the sprawling invitations we give out for our lavish feasts. Yes, they were all there – the African children and the Asian laborers.

Yet they welcomed us with a smile and made space for us. They shared their Iftar, which was no more than some dates, a piece of bread that they broke into half for us, and some drinks. Being used to excess, we couldn’t imagine how the already small meal would be sufficient for them if they divided between us.

The African children, stereotyped for crimes and what not, were wonderful. A boy turned to me and passed on his can of soft drink. What should I do? I refused. “Children they are after all, who not just love, but crave for sweet drinks,” I thought. He pushed the can towards me and gestured he would share his friend’s.

These are people who we don’t even say our salaams to. The Black women scavengers are seen all around the country. They stop with their trolleys and children at the time of Salah and pray on pavements. Nevertheless, we pass them by as if they don’t exist, as if they are excluded from the obligation of saying salaams to our fellow Muslims. For more read

Go earn it now, Mr. President

"Listen to this,” my boss said compulsively scanning his inseparable BlackBerry for a zillionth time. “Barack Obama gets the Nobel Peace Prize!”

I laughed out loud. He was obviously kidding me, once again mocking my exaltation of Obama.

We were standing at a traffic signal in front of the magnificent Town Hall building in Copenhagen. Along with us patiently waited dozens of Danes with their bicycles, an overwhelming majority of them women.

There was a pleasant, coquettish nip in the air. The breathtaking square in the Danish capital is not far from the hotel where Michelle and US President Barack Obama had flown in last week for a couple of hours to plead Chicago’s case for the 2016 Olympics. Chicago of course lost the race to Rio.

“No, seriously! Obama is this year’s winner of the peace Nobel,” he insisted shaking his head with his characteristic, bemused smirk in place. I was stunned — too stunned for words. Despite being one of the early faithful of the Obama phenomenon, the news came as a huge surprise to me. So has it, it seems, to the world at large.

Reactions from both those attacking him and hundreds of millions of ordinary folks like me, touched by Obama’s message of hope, have been both swift and vociferous.

The issue has come as a godsend to the self-righteous pundits weary of the Middle East, Iran’s nuclear hide-and-seek and the economy. Just about every wonk on both left and right is going for the president’s jugular as if it was entirely his fault being chosen for the Nobel after only 265 days in office. He had been in the White House barely two weeks before the Feb. 1 deadline for the Nobel nomination.

No wonder everyone is suitably surprised or shocked, according to his/her worldview or lack of it. A beloved friend of mine who tries to keep my missionary zeal in check from time to time called up angrily demanding, “What’s this? Some kind of joke?” as though I had been on the Nobel jury.

But no one has been as bewildered by the Nobel panel’s life-changing decision as the winner himself. The shock was writ large on his ashen face as Obama talked of being “humbled” by the honor. He wasn’t being polite in protesting he didn’t deserve the honor.

Every wonk worth his salt is rushing to point out that Obama has yet to deliver on his promises. He has, they argue, nothing to show for his 10 months in office except for his soaring, uplifting rhetoric. His friends and foes — whose ranks have multiplied over the past few months — seem to agree on one thing: That the Nobel has come too early for the first black man in the White House. Too much too soon!

My favorite Maureen Down of the New York Times got it perfect when she made a furious Bill Clinton blurt it out in her hilarious piece: “It’s a case of premature adulation!”

Then what is it that earned Obama the Nobel? The answer lies in this rather telling cartoon in the International Herald Tribune. The cartoon shows the Nobel panel chief making the much-awaited announcement as Alfred Nobel benignly smiled down on him: “The Nobel Peace Prize goes to Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts in not being George W. Bush”.

For more read here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pray for our sisters around the world

We are in an era of trials and tribulations, as foretold by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Al-Fitan – tests of faith, confusion between truth and falsehood, mutual dissensions, obscurity between right and wrong, widespread killing, war, and natural disasters – are rampant. Not to mention that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for Muslims to be able to freely practice their faith without facing some form of persecution, disdain, discrimination, humiliation or verbal assault.

Those of us who are living in countries where the Shariah is openly adhered to have no idea what it is like to be discriminated against. The alleged statements of Sheikh Tantawi of Al-Azhar University caused an outcry in the international media, perhaps blown totally out of proportion and context, to cause yet another furor against the niqab. Circles of so-called “progressive” Muslims, who wish to see the growing trend of young Muslim women willingly donning the face-veil banned, particularly in western countries, have jumped at the chance to denounce this trend, which they claim is an ancient “custom”, and not a part of Islam.

A case in point is the 2006 incident of British politician Jack Straw voicing his personal opinion against the face-veil of Muslims, which prompted British Muslim presenter and media personality, Saira Khan, daughter of Pakistani immigrants, to appeal for a ban on the niqab in Britain. She did this again when French President Nicolas Sarkozy made a similar anti-niqab public statement this year.

Whether the alleged statements made last week by the respected Sheikh Tantawi are true or not; whether he was misquoted to cause an unnecessary controversy, is something that might never be known for sure, as is always the case with reporting today. However, what is more disconcerting is the ripple effect that is evident on a global scale. Within just a few days of this incident, groups from Italy to Canada are appealing for a niqab ban. For more read

Friday, October 9, 2009

10 Lessons Ibn Al-Mubarak taught us

Abdullah Bin Al-Mubarak was a scholar known for simultaneously combining numerous traits of virtue. In fact, his friends would sit and count all of the good things that were part of his character and personality. Reading through his life story, one cannot help but derive brief yet heavy lessons from how this man lived:

1- No matter how bad you think you are, you can always become better.
In Tartib Al-Madarik (1/159), Al-Qadi ‘Iyad mentioned that Ibn Al-Mubarak was asked about the circumstances in which he began studying. He replied: “I was a youth who drank wine and loved music and singing while engaging in these filthy acts. So, I gathered some friends to one of my gardens where there were sweet apples, and we ate and drank until we passed out while drunk. At the end of the night, I woke up and picked up the stringed oud and began singing: Isn’t it time that you had mercy on me; and we rebel against those who criticize us?

“And I was unable to pronounce the words as I intended. When I tried again, the oud began speaking to me as if it were a person, saying the verse: ‘Isn’t it time for the hearts of those who believe to be affected by Allah’s reminder?’ (Qur’an, al-Hadid:16) So, I said: ‘Yes, O Lord!’ And I smashed the oud, spilled the wine, and my repentance with all its realities came by the grace of Allah, and I turned towards knowledge and worship.”

2 – Associate with honorable people.
In Sifat As-Safwah (2/323), Ibn Al-Jawzi mentioned: “Ibn Al-Mubarak’s home in Marw was vast. It measured 50 square yards. There was no person known for knowledge, worship, manhood, or high status in Marw except that you saw him in this house.”

3 – Be a helpful guest. In Sifat As-Safwah (2/324), it is narrated that when An-Nadr Bin Muhammad’s son got married, he invited Ibn Al-Mubarak, “and when he arrived, Ibn Al-Mubarak got up to serve the guests. An-Nadr did not permit him and swore that he would tell him to leave until Ibn Al-Mubarak finally sat down.”

For more read

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Windows Live Writer


I’m writing this post on Windows Live Writer. I just read it on another blog that it’s a good tool for customizing a blog post and so I wanted to try it. If this post comes out good then I’ll try using this software whenever I’m making a post.

Has anyone from among my blogger Pals or followers tried this software before? Please just let me know your experiences if you’ve tried it already.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Benefits Blog Learning from the lives of rich Muslims

We’VE all heard stories from the lives of the early Muslims with regard to their patience in poverty, their Zuhd (abstinence) and their general disdain for the trappings of this worldly life.

Yet in this age of plenty, our problem is dealing with excess, not figuring out how to make do with less, and this is why most of us fail to identify with the stories of want and deprivation. An alternative way to relate to the lives of early Muslims and inculcate some of the values they lived by, is to examine the lives of the rich among them.

• Khadijah Bint Khuwailid: Humility and service

She was the Mother of the Believers upon whom Allah Himself sent salutations through the Angel Jibreel (Gabriel), who told the Prophet (peace be upon him): “ Khadijah is coming to you with a dish (of seasoned food or drink). When she comes to you, offer her greetings from her Lord, the Exalted and Glorious, and on my behalf, and give her glad tidings of a palace of jewels in Paradise wherein there is no noise and no toil. (Sahih Muslim)
Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) was among the wealthiest women of her time, who spent her considerable fortune in providing succor and support to the emerging community of Muslims.

During the three years of boycott suffered by the Muslims in Shi’b Abi Talib (a ravine near Makkah where the Muslims were isolated), she almost single-handedly got her agents to procure food and other essentials.
Certainly, she must not have lacked for household help or servants, yet the fact that she carried the Prophet’s meal to him herself, speaks volumes about her humility and the esteem and love she had for her husband, the Prophet (peace be upon him).

• Uthman Bin Affan: Transactions with Allah

He was the Companion about whom the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “From this day on, nothing will harm Uthman (regardless of what he does).” What prompted the Prophet (peace be upon him) was that Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) outfitted a woefully under-equipped army (called the Jaysh Al-Usrah, Army of Hardship) that was setting out to confront the Romans who were amassing near Tabuk in the year 9 AH, with around 300 camels, a hundred horses and weapons (besides contributing thousands of dinars in money and gold).

In another instance, Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) came to the rescue of the community when there was a severe shortage of water in Madina and the Muslims were obliged to purchase water at very high prices. He purchased a well of sweet water, called Ar-Rumah, and placed it at the disposal of the Muslims. For more read