Retaining Enthusiasm In Du’a

It’s very easy to lose eagerness and enthusiasm in making du’a. It’s probably one of the most common spiritual problems for us. Once we lose the connection, we forget how it feels, and how much it helps, to pour out all of our problems to Allah. I may spend all morning whining to everyone about how many lemons life is throwing at me, but when I stand for dhuhr salah, I may not spend even a few seconds to ask Allah to help me through those problems. I may nag a friend at 3 AM about my depressions, but maybe I won’t even think about getting up and praying 2 rakats of tahajjud salah and crying in sajdah to Allah. I may clutter up my friends’ inboxes with a hundred issues, but when it comes to dua – I’ll go blank. “There’s nothing to make dua about.” “Make du’a about studies and work? Isn’t that kinda inappropriate?” “Everything will be fine by itself soon.” 

We go through 17 rakats of just fard salah in a day – that’s 34 sajdahs. And in how many of these sajdahs do we make sincere dua to Allah? Some days the answer is ‘zero’. Those are the days we’re failing at life.

Yes Allah takes the best care of us whether we ask Him or not, but being able to ask Him is in and of itself a HUGE blessing, a means of mercy. When we think we don’t need that blessing, we have fallen way too low.

Anyhow, I listed down a few points for myself to maintain the vigor in making du’a:

1) Make dua for others – for everyone that crosses your mind. The cousin you lost contact with; the childhood bestie you miss; the puller of the ricksha you rode today… make dua for their guidance, health etc. When you ask Allah to bestow some good upon someone, the angels pray “Ameen, and for you as well.”
So even if you can’t make dua for yourself, make the angels do it. 😀

2) Mentally mark down every single problem you mentioned to any human being throughout the day. Then make sure that you spill out that complain/query to Allah as well.

3) MAKE DUA IN SAJDAH. The Prophet (sm.) said we’re the closest to Allah when we are in sajdah, hence should make lots of dua at that time. (Yes you can say your duas in your own language, after you’ve said “Subhana rabbial a’la”. Google it/check islamqa if you’re not convinced.)

4) Whenever you’re alone, whatever you’re doing/not doing – on the road, in a boring class, while waiting for a video to load, before sleeping – make it a point to make du’a. About anything and everything. Voila! No more wasted time!

More later in sha Allah.
Just du’a it!

Obsessive Compulsive Snores

1:33 AM, says the black bar on top of my phone screen.
The blue rays from the CPU keep blinking like crazy
My eyes all hazy
From lack of sleep.
The occasional beep
Of midnight trucks
Pierce my insomniac ears.

My brother’s sobs have turned to snores,
His unstraightened bedsheet waits of course.
What could be worse
Than having to sleep on a bed without fixing the sheet?
What could be worse
Than keeping a book at a different angle from the one beneath it?
What could be worse
Than washing one hand but keeping the other dry?
What could be worse
Than closing your door but not tapping it a second time?
What could be worse
Than getting hurt on just one side of your symmetrical body?
What could be worse
Than putting an unwanted pen mark on your math homework copy?
What could be worse
Than the papers you’d spent ages aligning perfectly being scattered?
What could be worse
Than hearing your sisters say “Stop acting so crazy, it doesn’t matter!”

It’s okay, he’s asleep.
He’ll forget about the bedsheet in the morning.
He’ll have the toothpaste on his brush to worry about
And his sandals to carry about
With just the equal amount of pressure on each feet every time he steps.
And when the food on his plate looks so annoying that he has to ask for another plate
He’ll relinquish the last traces of his memories of tonight’s unfixed bed.
Maybe he’ll scratch his right cheek with his right hand
And then scratch his left cheek with his right hand
And then rub the nails of his left hand across the table
To give them a share of the pleasure
But maybe they’ll get too much
And maybe he’ll have to scratch another facial muscle.
And go on repeating until his muscles are numb from the pangs of equality 
And his nails can spell out tranquility.
It’s okay. It’s fine.
It doesn’t matter.
He’s just crazy.
And one day he’ll realize that.
It will all be fine from then.

1:56 AM, says the black bar on top of my phone screen.
The blue rays from the CPU still blinking like crazy
My brother snores as peacefully as someone without OCD,
Waiting for the next day’s imperfections to align just perfectly.
It’s okay. It’s fine.
One day he’ll stop acting crazy.

Some Resources To Help With Hifz

APPS:

  1. Quran Memorization (Hafiz)

Set the particular Surah or verse(s) you want to memorize, and this app will play it on loop, while you can read along at the same time. You can choose the reciter. You can also specify how many times you want the verses to repeat.

App size: 48 MB

  1. e Hafiz (Easy Quran Memorizer)

This is similar to the one above, except that the ayahs repeat in an infinite loop until you stop it. It comes with several themes and options.

App size: 1.8 MB

  1. AnkiDroid Flashcards

This might be a bit hard to grasp at first, but once you master how to use this app it can be a great help in sha Allah. AnkiDroid lets you learn using flashcards (images or texts that you have to input beforehand) by showing them just before you would forget. It uses the ‘spaced repetition’ concept and reminds you what to revise just at the right time.

App size: 6.43 MB

  1. Tafsir Ibne Kathir – English

Checking out the explanation of what you’re memorizing not only gives you a deeper insight to the surah and its background, but also helps you get the ayahs into your long-term memory easier and much quicker bi idhnillaah. [You can search for other Tafsir apps too, or buy a good Tafsir volume in hardcopy. Nothing beats reading an actual book!]

App size: 4 MB

EBOOKS:


I Wanna Be A Haafidha Too

Causes That Aid In The Memorization Of The Noble Quran
By Shaykh Mahmood al-Misri

Golden Rules For Memorizing The Quran

ARTICLES:

An interview with an O-level student who memorized the Quran

[Interview] Inspiring Tips to Memorize the Qur’an

Practical steps for memorizing the Quran

13 Steps To Memorize The Quran by Sheikh Yasir Qadhi

8 Useful Tips To Memorize The Glorious Quran

Tips to Help You Memorize the Quran, Part I

How To Memorize The Qur’an And Not Forget It! (Muslimmatters)

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

MORE:

If you want to memorize specific parts of the Quran, check http://www.mounthira.com/

Another useful software/site: http://www.qurantracker.com/

ADVICE FOR THE MEMORIZER:

When Your Hands Are Tied Up

Imagine earning money, but not being able to give away a single penny.
Imagine memorising breathtakingly long and amazing surahs of the Quran, but not being able to recite them in your Salah.
Imagine learning things, gaining ilm, but not being able to teach them to a single soul.
Imagine knowing about the immense virtues of a good deed but not being able to get yourself to do it.
Imagine having a pen, but not being able to write.

Imagine your hands being tied up. Tied up in the strongest of loops. By the Lord of the Worlds Himself.

Maybe you sinned too much.
Maybe you sinned too much AND didn’t repent.
Maybe you wasted away your blessings.
Maybe you ignored the light inside of you and outside of you and all around you and thus, passively chose a path of darkness.
And by giving so much leeway to your Nafs, you sealed off your own door to good deeds.
You shut your eyes, only to open them and find your heart shut as well.

“Whomever Allah guides,  none can misguide him. And whomever Allah misguides, none can guide him.”  None.

Grown Ups

Don’t tell me to wait till I grow up.
I have seen grown ups.
They are all lost.

They are all wishing they hadn’t waited.
They are all too bald to want new things.
They are all too fond of yesterdays
And all too weary of tomorrows.

I have seen grown ups who smile
At memories of sneaking into cinemas
And writing letters that didn’t change the world.
Because those are the only memories they have
That are worth moving facial muscles for.

I have seen grown ups who used to pray
To the Master who’d give them good jobs
And money to pay for their good children.
But that’s all they prayed for.
And that’s all they got.

I have seen grown ups who stare at walls
Not lost in some worthful thought
But because someone spilled ink on their
Years of hard work to pay off loans
To build those walls.

I have seen grown ups who
Make me not want to grow up.
And maybe I won’t.

So don’t you dare tell me to wait
Till I grow up.
I can never grow up
If all I do is wait.

18 Fun Things To Do When You’re Alone And Bored

  1. Record speeches in your own voice and listen to them.

  2. Write down/sketch out a dream you
    remember.

    giphy.com

  3. Draw a stick figure comic strip. Or write poetry. Just get your creative juices out.

  4. Do a DIY decor for your wall.

    http://www.makinghomebase.com/temporary-wall-treatments

  5. Read a book out loud in mimicked voices. (Record if you’re bold enough.)

    owl_reading_book
     

    Or you could try toggling the reading speed dramatically, like an audio record gone crazy.

  6. Clean your room/desk/shelf. Seriously, it’s fun.

    edd3ae92f82cc6d6914d0daa7eb1636d

  7. Doodle away your thoughts on a paper and call it a masterpiece.

    Like this.
    aead711fe5008da5826ff504bab30334

     Or this.
     question-doodles

  8. Cook/bake something!

    Hassle-back Potatoes http://aseasyasapplepie.com/baked-hasselback-potatoes/

  9. Stuff cookies, chocolates, fruits and random things together to make your own “Chef’s special dessert”.


    Maybe you’ll finally invent a way to eat bananas!

  10. Listen to insightful audio lectures.

    chm-audiobooks
    Nothing like just sitting back and indulging.

  11. Fill up a bottle with oil, water and some color. Shake it and watch the magic.

    9087lava
    A little childish is okay, right?

  12. Do work-outs!

    Workout
    There’s nothing  like a bit of flexing.

  13. Read the Quran or play it on loop.


    You might even get chunks memorized before long.

  14. Make lists. Or lists of lists. Or lists of lists of lists!

    Random to-do lists.

    Or a bucket list.
    bucketlist-radar

  15. Make/find something nice and wrap it up with all your creativity to gift someone you love.

     342105a89beb990619c68bf912ee5f59 http://www.buzzfeed.com/alannaokun/24-cute-and-incredibly-useful-gift-wrap-diys/#.wnx5zy7dJ

  16. Write inspirational words in your most fabulous handwriting on pieces of paper. Stick them on your table/wall/headboard/ceiling.

    OR roll them up like royal letters and gift them to a friend/sibling/cousin. Small things can mean a lot sometimes.

  17. Have a reading/listening/watching session on a history/science topic you don’t know very well.  

  18. If all else fails…..Read a book  Sleep Build a super awesome blanket fort!

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/donnad/5-steps-to-building-your-own-epic-blanket-fort#.ueL3Y0GZQ

Taped Tennis Balls

A glimpse back. A minute.
Now that seemed infinite.
Two 8-year-olds
Across the playground courts.
They knew nothing better and nothing worse.
No unuttered grudges, no cold remorse,
No holding back thoughts, no repelling force.
“Will you play with me?”
“Of course.”

Never ending conversations
Illogical fascinations
Unrelated correlations
Misunderstood connotations
Games full of incarnations
Overhearing informations
Idiotic laughter sessions
Dead serious operations
Till they’re knocked right off all…sensations.

10 years across the timeline.

Now there’s a fine line
Between their playground courts,
Cut off by countries and ports.
They have their very own forts,
No TNT cords
Not even social networks
Can bear the weight of the distance, anymore.

A barely inhabited chatbox.
“Any exams going on?”
“Yes.”
“Good luck.”
“Thanks.”

They go to sleep hoping to dream of all the taped tennis balls they’d lost.
Among other lost things.

Ibn Umar and the Stubborn Camel

Once Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) and his son Abdullah ibn Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) were riding with the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Abdullah had a camel (owned by his father) that was naturally very fast, and it kept crossing the camel of the Prophet and going beyond it, no matter how much Abdullah tried to hold it back.

At one point, Umar (ra) got really mad at him and said, “Ya Abdullah! No one should go in front of the Prophet! Move your camel!” Abdullah kept struggling with his camel and Rasulullah (Sm.) could see that Abdullah was hurt, because his father had put him down in front of the Prophet (Sm).

So all of a sudden Rasulullah (Sm) stopped, went to Umar (who owned the camel his son was riding) and said, “Sell it to me.” Umar (ra) tried to give it to him as a gift but Rasulullah (Sm) insisted and paid for the camel and bought it. 

Then the Prophet (Sm) took the camel, gave it to Abdullah and told him, “This is for you, Abdullah. Do as you wish with it.” (Meaning he was giving him permission to go infront of him.)

[Reference: Hadith is in Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Hadith no. 781]

This story is way too beautiful, Subhanallah! The love and care of the Prophet (Sm) for Ibn Umar just makes me smile in awe!

Surah Jathiyah 45:24

My Favorite Dua #2

image

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?

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.”

image

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

image

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…

View original post 699 more words

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?

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