My Favorite Dua #2

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A little boy stuck in a well. Rescued to be sold as a slave. A young lad called towards fornication. A young man sent to prison for not committing a crime. And left there for years.

Years.

A man who sat alone in the dark dungeons and called upon his Lord. Because he knew his Master for what He is….the only Protector, the only Friend.

And he was rescued. Taught by the Lord of the Worlds to interpret dreams. Won the heart of the king. Appointed a minister.Reunited with his father.

A Prophet. Son of a Prophet. Grandson of a Prophet. Great grandson of a Prophet.

Joseph, son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham. Peace be upon them all.

A man who made a du’a that makes me quiver every time I hear it.

It’s the Du’a that reminds me that the one who created the Skies and the planets is also the only one who can help me in every situation in life…..and Afterlife. How can I die in disobedience to Him?

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My Imaginary World Trip: Intro

“What’s Your biggest worldly dream?”
“It’s a really long list.”
“No, just name the biggest one.”

“Traveling the world, I guess.”

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Every one of us have that desorganized set of dreams especially set aside in a distant niche inside our mind, not meant to be taken seriously. Dreams that are there just for the sake of dreaming. Dreams that do not require actualization for our survival, but are there just to make us feel the tinge of yearning and anticipation that reality doesn’t seem to offer. Dreams that are less of dreams and more of fantasies.

In my never-ending list of such fantasies, one of the most haunting ones would be to travel across borders, with no strings attached to any place in the world, and just keep moving on. To seek the beauty of the Creator through His flawless creations. To fall in love with snow-capped mountain peaks and evergreen canopies. To trace shapes in the star-studded sky from all the corners of the sphere we live on. Until I get tired of all the walking and climbing and asking for directions.

No, it’s not an aspiration, it’s just a dream. It’s the closest experience to jannah (paradise) that  my tiny mind can conjure up.

I just came across a travel blog where the author shares her thoughts and experiences as she travels through Asia. It just made me feel like, “I wanna write things like this too!” But I’m not travelling and I don’t write very well. “Oh well, lets just pretend I’m on a tour and write all about it,” the pushy side of me insisted. So here I am, writing this when I should really be studying or doing something more productive. I intend this to be the intro to a series of random rants of a Muslim girl wound up on a world tour….inside her mind.

I never go too far with my projects. But I don’t have to, right?

So let’s see, where do I go first?

My Favorite Dua #1

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The world has this crazy habit of trying to pull you back towards it the moment you try to make it beyond its force field. Gravity against spirituality, I like to call it.

You might think you’ve made it; freed yourself from the shackles of pure materialism and internalized a larger reality. But maybe the earth hates it when you think that way.

There is no escape velocity from the realm of materialism.

I have seen people rise and then fall.

I have seen people committing themselves to the worship of Allah SWT; praying 5 times a day; fasting Sunnah fasts; taking up modesty; worrying less about money and fame; and then, all of a sudden, losing that connection.

Like a rope that snaps from too much pressure.

And that is what I fear.

I fear losing pupose. Losing hope. Losing myself.

“Whomever Allah guides, no one can misguide, and whomever Allah misguides, no one can guide.”

Verse 30, Chapter 2, Holy Quran

Me, Science and Life!!

As-Salam-Alai Kum,

Wanted to share the profoundness of the Verse 30 of Chapter 2. In Chapter 2 verse 30 of Holy Quran, it is mentioned,

“Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: “I will create a vicegerent on earth.” They said: “Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?” He said: “I know what ye know not.”

In this verse of Al-Baqara, Allah is describing about an event that took place before the physical creation of human beings. From this verse we get the following information

(1) Angels knew a astronomical body called ‘Earth’, that exists in this universe. If they had no knowledge about earth, they would have enquired more information about earth to Allah.

(2) Earth was created before the physical creation of human beings. This is inferred from the phrase ‘I…

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If the sea were ink

An amateur attempt at illustration.

 

 

15 Reasons Why All Of Us Should Have A Habit Of Memorizing The Quran

Hifdh or memorization of the Quran, to most of us, is a fairly distant dream that we simply wish to achieve at some far-off point in our lives; something we consider to be possible only for kids sent to special hifdh schools or madrasahs which detach them from the rest of the world and thus enable them to do this impossible-for-common-folk, utterly enormous feat. An unfortunately large number of Muslims also happen to believe that memorizing the Quran is an all-or-nothing venture: you either memorize the whole Quran and become a Hafidh or you remain satisfied with the few small surahs from “Ampara” i.e Juz ‘Amma that you learned as a kid. Thanks to such saddening misconceptions, most of us spend our entire lives missing out on some epic advantages, benefits and rewards that no other form of ‘Ibadah offer.

But here’s the thing: the Quran is THE most significant book in human (and non-human) history. Most of us happen to read it regularly too. But that’s where we decide to stop. We decide for ourselves how much our capacities will allow us, without even testing it, whereas Allah SWT Himself tells us “Indeed, We have made the Qur’an easy to remember. Is there any who will remember?” [Surah Qamar] four times in the same Surah! By considering memorization to be an impossible or over-the-top task, we are not just underestimating the promise of Allah that He has made it easy for us, but we are at the same time undervaluing our amazing faculty of grasping any kind of information and storing it in a way no other form of life on earth can do! Starting from primary school to the end of university, the amount of “memorization” we do is outright colossal and is multiple folds in quantity compared to the comprise book that the Quran is. To put it plainly, in context of an average high school student’s everyday studies, memorizing an ayah a day, or a few ayahs a week, is anything but impossible.

The best part of Hifdh perhaps is the way it impacts our lives, not to mention our Afterlives. Its benefits vary from person to person. But from a general point of view, I listed down a few of them that have been influencing and motivating me greatly at a personal level.

15. Builds Self-confidence

Nothing acts as a confidence boost like doing something you formerly thought you couldn’t.

14. Way To A Healthier And More Active Brain

Check out the article In Praise of Memorization: 10 Proven Brain Benefits for some science-backed motivation!

13. Prevents Swearing, Cursing, And Abusive Language

We have all heard that the Quran is a remedy for the heart. One of the best implications of this is seen in the way memorizing the words of Allah SWT can change the way a person speaks and interacts – which is a direct manifestation of the condition of one’s heart.

12. Turns A Bad Day Around

Imagine you’re having an awful day. There’s nothing that you’re getting done. It feels like a complete waste of all the hours and the regret of having wasted yet another day you’d been blessed with is only making it worse.

But then you open up the Quran and read an ayah a few times. In a matter of minutes, you imprint on your mind a part of the final Divine Revelation sent upon mankind right from the highest skies by Allah SWT. Those few minutes have made you a holder of something the vast majority of the world doesn’t have, and have possibly encertained you a higher level of Paradise in Sha Allah.
I bet your day is better now!

11. An Impeccable Sense Of Achievement

This is similar to the last point, but think of it in a broader sense: even if you aren’t doing too good in life from a materialistic point of view,  just knowing that you have memorized parts of the Quran i.e the words of Allah SWT can make you feel more accomplished, which in turn would boost other aspects of your life.

10. Carrying A Huge Collection Of Du’as All The Time

Ever read a Du’a and felt absolutely overwhelmed by its beauty, but then didn’t feel motivated enough to memorize it? Or maybe you did memorize it but then it slowly disappeared in the bottomless pit of your busy mind. Memorizing the Quran essentially means memorizing loads of Du’as along the way; du’as that are so awesome that Allah SWT preserved them in His book for all generations to come. And since we are supposed to revise the ayaat and surahs that we memorize again and again to retain them in our hearts for the long run, the du’as are also preserved for good, bi idhnillah.

Everytime you need one – in the middle of a hardship or just in the calm of the night before falling asleep – you can pull out any of those beautiful Du’as from the abyss of all the ayahs Allah blessed you to memorize.

9. Helps In Da’wah

As Muslims, we get asked a lot of questions regularly – by non-Muslims as well as other Muslims. “What does the Quran say about that?” “I’ve never read it, is it in the Quran?” “Do you have proof of this?” “Could you quote something nice from your Book?” A lot of these times, we know that it’s there but can’t quite remember it, or don’t know how exactly to answer. We’re left biting on our nails thinking – Only if I could remember that verse!

Having even a bit of the Quran memorized comes to a HUGE help in these moments, and other moments too – using a rare Da’wah opportunity, correcting a misconception among friends or relatives, consoling a friend, or reminding someone of all the fun awaiting us in Jannah, in sha Allah.

8. De-focusing From Anxiety And Negative Thoughts 

Amidst all the clamor and rush of the hectic life that the 21st century offers, just a few moments spent with the Quran trying to internalize its words is one of the best ways to take our mind off all the negative thoughts, frustrations and anxieties that instinctively seep into us every day. Even if you don’t want to get those worries off of your mind, the concentration that memorization demands will compel you to switch all of it off at least for a while. We all need that, don’t we? And that is part of the endless Rahmah (Mercy) Allah SWT has gifted us through His Book.

“O humanity! There has come to you a direction from your Lord and a cure for all [the ills] in men’s hearts – and for those who believe, a Guidance and a Mercy” [Quran 10:57]

7. Relating To Lectures And Talks

There are few things that give me as much delight as hearing a Sheikh/scholar quote something in a Khutba or lecture and being able to instantly recall it. That “Yes, I know that ayah!” moments is just completely worth it.

6. An Uncomparable Adventure

Hifdh is, beyond any of these things, an unparalleled and extremely intriguing journey. It’s like starting an adventure through a whole different world we’d always been too afraid to enter. It takes us through evergreen forests of memories and bottomless waters of wisdom, leaving us amazed at the pearls we collect along the way. Ever since I started this practice, it has left some of the most profound imprints in my mind – with certain ayahs giving me a déjà vu every time I recite it. Believe it or not, sometimes I even catch smells and feelings while memorizing an ayah, only to re-experience them way later while reciting the same ayah!

5. Be With The Noble Angels

Narrated from ‘Aa’ishah that the Prophet (SAW) said: “The one who recites the Qur’an and learns it by heart, will be with the noble righteous scribes (in Heaven) and the one who exerts himself to learn the Qur’an by heart and recites it with great difficulty, will have a double reward.” [Sahih Bukhari, 4937]

4. Brings Concentration In Salah

Instead of reciting the short surahs that you’ve been reciting in salah over and over again for years, making a change and reciting ayahs that are comparatively newer to your memory ensures a huge shift in your concentration level. It becomes much easier to ignore all distractions when you are focused on trying to remember the wording of the ayaat perfectly instead of following second nature, even more so if you know the meanings.

3. Enhances One’s Relationship With Allah SWT

The core purpose of sending down such an immensely weighty Book upon mankind – a book that even mountains wouldn’t be able to bear had it been sent upon them – is to connect us to Allah SWT and henceforth guide us. He decided to speak to us puny humans through this Book. Hence, one is bound to feel connected to Allah when His words are imprinted onto one’s heart. It becomes easier to follow the commands, easier to remember Him when His ayahs are cosily settled in the crevices of our forgetful hearts.

2. The Best Way To Repay Our Parents

Ever thought of all the things your parents did for you starting from even before your birth, and how we can never repay it no matter how much we do? Wouldn’t this be a good way to at least try? Imagine your parents  on the Day of Judgement – surprised by the way they are being honored – looking at you with amusement and delight; saying “I’m so proud of you” the way you had waited all your life to hear.

1. A Step Higher With Every Ayah

Al-Tirmidhi (2914) and Abu Dawood (1464) narrated from ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “It will be said to the companion of the Qur’an: Recite and rise in status, recite as you used to recite in the world, for your status will be at the last verse that you recite.”

So what’s stopping you now?

Memorizer of the Quran

Too Little To Settle For

Too little doors, too many windows

Towers upon towers, rows upon rows,

In a city that yearns to sleep.

Rusty walls around rustier floors,

Broken speed limits and unshared chores,

In this forest that runs too deep.

 

Euphoric freedom, or so does it seem.

Chained by the neck to every other whim,

In a violent disarray of vows.

Hunting treasures in an ocean of rust,

Gnawing at gold and chewing on dust,

Selling out souls for chaos.

 

It’s a mirage inside a dreary dream

With eager sentinels staring agleam

With pens darker than tar.

You wake up and then you realize,

All that freedom piled up to the skies

Was too little to settle for.

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