Reflecting on my Hifz Journey

In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.

I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alayhi wasallam) is His slave and messenger.

In September 2015, I began my journey to memorizing the Quran.  This journey has been one that I have difficulties expressing into words.  I am grateful to Allah for guiding my heart and making the Quran a source of comfort and ease for my heart.

I started memorizing Quran because I wanted to take something with me to my grave that would not fail me – I had gone through a very, very rough period in my life and was drowning in my grief, unable to express my sorrows and my grief to none but Allah.  I found comfort solely in salaah and in the words of my Lord. It was during Ramadan, in the second half of the month that I spontaneously (I have no clue how this happened, SubhanAllah) asked Allah to make me of the People of the Book.  I was a tired, broken and imperfect slave – to be honest, I still am.   But the Quran, it was the healing of my broken heart.

I read all that I could to learn more about how to memorize Quran – why you should memorize, how to memorize, when to memorize, tips and tricks, dos and don’ts – I immersed myself in learning about how to place the words of my Lord in my heart forever. Alhamdullilah.

I decided to start from the 1st juzz despite hearing that most people find it easier and recommend that you should start from the back, with the 30th juzz.  I felt like starting from the first juzz and memorizing in chronological order would be the best choice and would allow me to remain humble (starting from the start is more difficult than starting from the shorter surahs in the 30th juzz – atleast in my experience).

I started off so very eager and then after a few months of memorizing and revising, I found myself vulnerable – my mind was occupied with odd thoughts: ‘you are not good enough to memorize the Quran’, ‘you are not modest enough’, ‘you are not committed’, ‘you will never be good enough in your tajweed and recitation’.  I seek refuge in Allah from the whispers of the shaytaan.

Lately, I had been experiencing a lack of confidence in myself, doubting my intentions, my abilities, my commitment and consequently not being as effective in my memorization.  I recently spoke to a dear friend of mine, a hafidha of the Quran about these thoughts to which she replied, “You do not have to be good to memorize the Quran but rather it is through the Quran that you will become good.”  These words still echo my mind as I reflect upon my life and all the phenomenal changes that have occurred therein due to the memorization of the Quran. From the way I dress, to the way I interact with people, to my conscience to my preferences.  It has helped me get closer to Allah swt. I am at a loss of words when I think of how my life has transformed ever since I started memorizing the Quran.

Alhamdullilah, my conversation with my friend has motivated me a lot and has helped me realize that what I am experiencing is just the whispers of Shaytaan.  I have decided that I need to identify the problems that I am facing and then come up with strategies to overcome them.

And so, this is my  ‘to-do’/self-reminders list in sha Allah:

  1. Make dhikr often – when you fall weak, call upon Allah. He is Near! Don’t let the whispers of the shaytaan divert your attention from your purpose and goals.
  2. Recite the words of Allah often – on the bus, walking to class, sitting in the library – recite the Quran. Take any available opportunity and engrave His words in your heart. Make His words the most dear to your heart.
  3. Cry to him in the middle of the night. Re-establish the habit of tahajjud – cry to the One who can heal, who can grant your wishes and desires, who can protect you and open doors for you.
  4. Increase in charity – smiles, volunteering, money: through any medium, through any means, give for the sake of Allah
  5. Make du’a constantly that Allah accepts this journey and grants success. Ask Allah to keep you sincere, consistent and humble in your hifz journey.

 

If you are memorizing the Quran or are interested in memorizing the Quran and you self-doubt/lose confidence or find yourself giving up, don’t! Turn to your Lord, Your Creator, Your Master.  Cry to Him, ask Him to make you among the People of the Book and beg him to make the Quran your companion.

Any and every good was from Allah and Allah alone. All mistakes present are from myself and the Shaytaan. May Allah forgive me for every shortcoming. Allahumma Ameen.

 

 

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An awakening

In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.

I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alayhi wasallam) is His slave and messenger.

Lately, I have been attending a halaqah on the Day of Judgement and the Hereafter.  It’s phenomenal how easily I forget that one day, everything will perish. That everything will be gone. One day, it will just be me lying in the grave, waiting for the 3 questions. I forget that one day, I will stand in front of the One who created me from the earth, returned me to it and then resurrected me. O Allah, expand my grave with Your mercy.  O Allah, bless my grave with Your light. O Allah, beautify my grave with my good deeds. O Allah, I seek refuge in You from You and I seek protection from Your wrath and I beg You for forgiveness.  O Allah, let not my heart waiver from the truth.

O Allah, let this slave live in Your submission and die upon Your submission. O Allah, forgive me for my mistakes and for my errors.  O Allah, let me strive solely for Your pleasure.  O Allah, let me return to You when You are pleased with me and when Your Garden awaits me. O Allah, grant my brothers and sisters in Islam the very same. Forgive me and forgive them. Have mercy on me and have mercy on them.

Ameen, Ya Rabb.

Love

In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.

Among His greatest favours upon us is His control over our hearts.  He is the Turner of our hearts, the One who can heal our wounds and cause us to replace the pains of yesterday’s memory with an earnest hope for the future.  Alhamdullilah.

The past few weeks of my life have been Alhamdullilah, the most difficult days that I have ever faced.  My eyes weep when I close them to rest.  Allahu Akbar.  These past days have taught me to trust Him before anyone, to love Him more than anyone, to love others for His sake, to forgive those who have wronged you and have left you with pain and caused you a great loss, to be compassionate towards those who have wronged you, to ask for forgiveness for the ones who have wronged you. In no world am I a brilliant person – I barely make the nice mark – but I swear by Allah, this is and can only be from Him.

He turned my heart- completely to the One who it belonged to all along. He took away from me, only to give me what is enough for me to get through it all with His help, love for Him and Him alone.

O Allah, I seek refuge in you from a heart that waivers away from You.  I seek refuge in you from a dead heart that loves that which is displeasing to You. O my Lord, I seek refuge in You and protection in You from losing this love.

Allahumma Ameen.

A needy slave

O Allah, I need You. O Allah, I have none other besides You.  O Allah, there is absolutely no one I can turn to besides You.  O Allah, show me a way through this.  O Allah, You know what is best for me.  O Allah, help me place my complete trust in You. O Allah, save this slave. O Allah, I seek refuge in You.  O Allah, guide me and protect me and have Your mercy on me. Protect me from all that will take me away from You and guide me towards that which will earn me Your pleasure and love.

Ameen, Ya Rabb.

Mercy upon Mercy

In the Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate.

During the summer, I worked at a store as a sales associate.  After many du’as and lots of applications, Alhamdullilah, I found a job to help me pay for school.  This opportunity taught me a lot. It was more than just a means of income – it helped me reflect upon myself and my relationship with Allah.

I fasted several days of Ramadan at work and would often open my fast there as well.  I remember the days that I worked their while fasting – I often felt my eyes tearing up. It was not the long hours nor the work that tired my eyes but rather, it was the realization that I no longer had the comfort of praying and reciting Quran for hours as I pleased while being in my home that made my heart hurt.  But what brought tears to my eyes was the mercy of my Rabb.

Allah is so Merciful – from His Mercy was that I found a job so that I could avoid interest, from His Mercy was that I was inspired to make the intention of coming to work everyday for the sake of Allah, to raise money to avoid what He dislikes, from His Mercy was that I could find comfort and peace in His words and His remembrance during the hours that I longed to go in sujood and pray in the comfort of my home. That summer, I learned Ramadan (and at large, Islam) does not just happen during salaah on our prayer mats nor is it found in the time we spend sitting, making dhikr. Am I saying that those are not important and beautiful elements? Of course not! They are extremely important and essential elements of faith! It is only by His mercy and help that we are able to worship Him through salaah and remember Him and recite His Book. But it does not just end there, in fact, it just begins.

I found the mercy of Allah.  He accepts with such mercy, it is incredible. That Ramadan, I learned how to practice my faith and preserve, protect and cherish my relationship of Allah despite the circumstances that I faced. Was it perfect? No. But did it bring me closer to Allah? Yes. I learned Islam goes everywhere we go. It needs to reflect in our conduct – the way we speak to people, the way we react when someone attempts to gossip, the way we comfort people when they feel hurt, the way we work with honesty and integrity, the way we discard the thought of doing something wrong even if many engage in it out of love and fear of Him.  Islam does not drift when you walk away from the prayer mat.

I learned that salaah does not need a prayer mat nor a prayer room. It needs a slave who believes that His Lord is One and that Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) is the slave and Messenger of Allah and when that is present, you could be at home, on a journey, at work or any place for that matter- at the time of salaah, you leave behind what occupied you and walk towards success, walk towards salaah.

I thank Allah for teaching me the value of Imaan, the value of salaah, the value of fasting, the value of Ramadan, the value of time.  I praise Allah for the mercy He treats His slaves with, accepting from them the little that they struggle to bring forth for His sake.  I praise and thank the One who created me for providing me with the ability to realize that everything that we do can earn us His pleasure if we do it with sincerity and for His pleasure and for helping me to see the importance of living with Islam and beautifying our lives with its practice from salaah and Quran to mannerisms and etiquette.  I praise the One who brought tears to these often dry eyes at the sight of the Mercy that He has had upon my life.

All Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

Any and every last good in this post is from Allah and Allah alone. Any mistakes or errors are from myself and Shaytaan. May Allah forgive me and accept from me. Ameen.  

 

 

Refuge

O Allah, protect this heart of mine. Safeguard it. Guide this weak slave of Yours.  Do not let me leave the right path once You have blessed me with Your guidance. I seek refuge in You, O Allah.

I seek refuge in You from You.

For the sake of Allah…

In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate and the Most Merciful.

For the sake of Allah and with His will, help and mercy, I intend to

  • memorize 2 verses everyday – a page/week
  • read the translation of what I am memorizing
  • watch a video on tafseer of the portion that I am memorizing
  • write a short reflection about the portion that I have read
  • make it a habit to recite and memorize Quran after Fajr
  • to listen to Quran for 15 minutes before going to sleep
  • to get up atleast 45 minutes before Fajr to pray tahajjud with the verses that I have already memorized
  • use sticky notes to summarize page (lessons / thoughts / reflections / questions / etc)
  • increase daily dhikr
  • learn about the Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wasallam)
  • fast on Mondays, Thursdays and lunar days
  • give sadaqah every week (Jummah donations)
  • race to say Salaam first
  • check up on relatives once every 3 weeks
  • call parents at least once every day
  • make du’a specifically for my parents and deceased relatives
  • volunteer for the mosque’s monthly food drive
  • volunteer for the tutoring sessions available at the mosque for kids
  • learn about the Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wasallam)
  • start saving money to go to Umrah
  • make du’a for others often
  • be honest in all my work – school, home, work
  • write more blog entries that can benefit people and bring them closer to Allah

I shared this with you to motivate you to reflect on your intentions and renewing them.  Whether you are memorizing the Quran, learning Arabic, beginning to pray, learning Surah Fatihah, struggling to give up something that displeases Allah or just beginning to pray one salaah a day till you make a habit of all 5, reflect and renew your intentions often. Humans are very weak and we are very needy of attention, praise, love and feed off ourselves.  We must seek refuge in Allah and strive to do all that we do for His sake. How sad would it be for us to see the very thing that should be bringing us closer to Him be proofs against us on the Day that no soul can escape. O Allah, protect us, accept from us and have mercy upon us.  Ameen, Ya Rabb.

In sha Allah, you too can reflect on your intentions, renew them and intend to do things to accomplish your goals for His sake and with His help.

 

 

Reflection on Intention

In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.

Alhamdullilah.

All praise belongs to the Lord of the Worlds.

All praise belongs to the Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that exists between them.

All praise belongs to the One who has created me and all that which I see and all that which I cannot see and all that I know and that which I have no knowledge of.

All praise belongs to the one who inspired my heart and has created ease for me to be among those who learn the words of His Book and seek to memorize them.

I am struggling like I have never struggled before.  Why am I doing this? I want to say that it is purely for Allah’s sake but there are so many whispers that I am affected by.  O Allah, I seek refuge in You and in You alone. O Allah, save me from my insincerity. O Allah, protect me from the fire and from the punishment of doing things for the sake of pleasing others. Ya Rabb, protect this slave for she is of the weakest and the worst. O my Rabb, I seek refuge in You from the evil of my soul, from the evil around me and from the whispers of the Shayateen.

Ya Rabb, there is no honour but the honour that You grant to people. O Allah you elevate those whom You are pleased with.  O Allah, elevate me in my status with You. O Allah, do not let the good that I do nor the Book that I memorize be proofs against me on the Day that I stand in front of You.

O Allah, let this Book be the source of peace, ease and comfort for me in this dunya and the Akhirah.  O Allah, let it be the calmness of my eyes. O Allah, protect this slave of yours from earning way into the Fire. O Allah, guide this slave to Your jannah.  Ameen, Ya Rabb.

——–

Lately, I have been reflecting on my intentions as I find myself distancing from something that I was so eager to begin.  I find myself doubting myself, doubting my abilities and finding it so difficult to connect.  But the reality is that I am just not being committed. I have to be honest with myself.  I found ease in His Books when I approached His words with good intentions, confidence in my ability to memorize with His Help and when I abandonned things for His sake.  I have stepped back. Allah is still there.  He is still there. His Book is still easy to remember for those who pursue it. But the question is how determined are you and I?

I seek forgiveness from Allah for my shortcomings and I seek refuge in Him from all that which takes me away from Him.

And so I renew my intentions and will write the following posts in hopes that someone who is perhaps in the same boat as me can benefit in sha Allah.

Any and every good in this post is from Allah and Allah alone, the One to whom all praise belongs and any and every evil is from myself and Shaytaan. I seek refuge in the One who is the Most Merciful and Forgiving.

 

Memorization Update!

Assalam Alaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate and the Most Merciful.

Alhamdullilah, Alhamdullilah, Alhamdullilah, I have memorized 15 verses of Surah Al-Baqarah.                 May Allah accept from me and all those on the same pursuit, keep us in a state of sincerity and humility and continue to inspire our hearts with a love and yearning for His book. Allahumma Ameen.

I remember that day when I wanted to begin memorizing. I swear by Allah, I have never experienced any feeling that could possibly come even close to compare. Alhamdullilah for this guidance and this inspiration. Truly, He is a Lord of mercy, compassion and kindness.

This past month of memorizing the Quran has been a magical time in my life. It comes with responsibility, hardship and self-doubt.  I am constantly questioning myself and my capabilities. I think it is normal to question yourself. But we must remind ourselves that He has made His Book, His words easy upon the hearts who long to learn… it is made easy to remember.

I thank Him for the difficulty that I have experienced with this pursuit.  In sha Allah, it will keep me in a state of humility.  Allah knows how needy we are of being reminded of our real place, of being reminded of our minute existence in the vastness of His universe.

In sha Allah, I will soon be sharing some of the tools/strategies that have helped me with my pursuit.  Please, if you are reading this, keep me in your du’as – ask Him to provide me with sincerity, kindness, compassion and ease in this pursuit.  I thank the One who has inspired my heart. I long to see the day when His words are engraved in my heart and more importantly, the day when He accepts from me and rewards my parents and I.

O Allah, You are the Most Kind. You are the Most Compassionate. To You belong the worlds and You are the Creator of all that exist within them.  O Allah, have mercy on Your slaves. Grant peace to our hearts and fill our heart with love for You, Your Messenger (salallahu alayhi wasallam) and Your Deen. O Allah, attach our hearts to no one but You and let our lives be lived and last breath be taken in submission to You and in Your obedience. Allahumma Ameen.

For His Sake

In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate and the Most Merciful.

It’s here.  The day that I have been looking forward to with so much eagerness – Alhamdullilah, it is finally here.  In sha Allah, today, I will be meeting with my Quran teacher to officially begin memorizing the Quran.  I am filled with excitement, joy, fears and tears.   I am humbled by the guidance that Allah has placed in my heart and ever thankful for His mercy upon me.  Truly, all praise belongs to Allah and Allah alone.  I ask that you please remember me in your du’as.

O Allah, You are the Light of the Heavens and of the Earth.  You guide whom You will and honour whom You will.  We are in a constant and permanent need of Your Mercy.  Ya Allah, honour me and all those on this journey with Your book Ya Rabb and protect me from even the faintest signs of riyaa. Oh Allah, bless me and all other students of knowledge and Quran with ikhlaas and allow us to seek your pleasure through this journey in this life and the Akhirah.  O Allah, protect us from the whispers of Shaytaan as he tries to deter me from something so beautiful and pleasing to You. Ya Allah, let my life and death be for You and You alone.  O Allah, allow me to live and die in Your submission.

Allahumma Ameen.