Wisdom From Al-Ghazali

“If you see Allah, Mighty and Magnificent, holding back this world from you, frequently trying you with adversity and tribulation, know that you hold a great status with Him. Know that He is dealing with you as He does with His Awliya’ and chosen elite, and is watching over you.” ~ Al-Ghazali

How to learn to read Qur’an

I started learning the Arabic alphabet in December 2017 at age 22. At times taking weeks and even months off I started learning to read Arabic and learn the rules of tajweed on a semi regular basis on average about once a week. I’ve gone through many teachers and have gotten to a point as of today where I can open any page of Qur’an and read with a few mistakes in Tajweed. Today I read through Surah Nuh for the first time and it came out of my mouth fluently! I am so grateful to have got here as it was a really difficult process and would like to share some tried and tested advice for someone who is starting out.

  1. Make sure your first teacher has a good command of the English language and the science of English grammar so that they are able to translate the Arabic equivalents easily and simply. This will help if you want to research a grammatical rule later.
  2. Don’t be afraid to change teachers. I remember having a teacher that I dreaded going to despite the comfort of her actually living a few doors down. It made it stressful for me to study with her because her approach was quite aggressive/ impatient. What you don’t want is to be intimidated by your own teacher especially if you are paying. There are plenty of other teachers out there if you ask around who have a gentler approach. For example I asked around at my local mosque and found a new teacher who offered to teach 1-1 for free ( May Allah bless her, ameen). If you don’t ask you don’t get, so ask around for a teacher better suited to you if you are dissatisfied with the one you have.
  3. “When the student is ready the teacher appears”. This could not be any more true. Trust that when you are ready and willing to learn Allah will facilitate the perfect teacher to find you.
  4. Try to do 1-1 when starting out with Tajweed. This makes the process faster. When I first started I joined classes at the mosque which were not too bad but very slow. I recommend joining a larger class later for memorisation/ more advanced levels later on.
  5. Trust the process. This is cliché but true. There were times I’d take 3 steps forward and 10 steps back. Times when I would get really confused and frustrated for not understanding things faster and making so many mistakes / reading extremely slowly. There were other times however with practice where I saw measurable progress. Don’t focus on the outcome but rather the present process and be gentle with yourself.
  6. Always read a little Qur’an on a regular basis to practice your tajweed. Focus on doing a little regularly rather than lot one month then burning out the next month.
  7. Keep all your notes in a neat folder/ textbook with clear writing for referencing. This makes it easier to look for a rule when you forget.
  8. Final tip: Do not worry you’re not exaggerating the letters, Arabic actually sounds like that ! 😅

Peace ~Serenity O.

Pic: cypriotsister on IG

What are you today?

Allah created you with the human trait of conviction. You’re not a leaf that dances and rises and falls with the vicissitudes of the wind. Allah created you to be substantial and weighted, to move with the conviction of your own weight and to consequently forge a new and beautiful path for yourself that is independent of the worries and projections and input of the external. The saddest thing that can happen to you is to live life as a floating feather… a life of reaction to outside stimuli…the stimuli being the projected fears of other people which are by their nature illusionary and rooted in the deception of the great deceiver: shaitan. What are you today? Are you governed by your future potential or are you instead an amalgam of long past external inputs which have travelled through time from the whispers of our common enemy to reach your mind? Are you the captain of your ship? Or is he?

A Private Dream

When I picked my alma mater in 2014, I had just started practicing Islam. I picked my alma mater on the basis that if I continued to go down the route of Islam I would be more comfortable doing so at that uni in particular over my other options. One day in 2014 I had a vision that I’d graduate from uni praying five times a day in an abaya, hijab, niqab, with a clean heart and a calm mind. I didn’t tell anyone and just silently held this dream close to me. I didn’t know how this would happen but I knew it could and would transpire. As of today, after a switch to part time study and two years leave of absence, through the permission of Allah and via the most unexpected of journeys this has actually happened 🤯. Subhanallah 🤯. I am graduating in niqab in a calm state with a first class honours exactly like my dream. MashaAllah. TabarakAllah. Alhamdullilah. Allahuakbar. All Glory and Praise is due Allah, Supreme Governor of all that exists and Supreme Exalted Lord of all light, love and success. Blessed is Al Wahhab and Mighty are His gifts. Subhanallahi wa bihamdihi subhanallahi adheem. A whole entire dream came true 🤯. Unless you are someone who knew me before you will not understand how shocking this whole situation is 😳. Subhanallah.

Blessed is He in Whose Hands is the Dominion and He is able to do all things. {67:1}

Reading about the beauty of Paradise

“The (members of the) first group which would get into Paradise will have their faces as bright as stars in the sky. They would neither pass water, nor void excrement, nor will they suffer from catarrh, nor will they spit, and their combs would be made of gold, and their sweat will be musk, the fuel of their brazier will be aloes, and their wives will be large-eyed maidens and their form would be alike as one single person after the form of their father (Adam) sixty cubits tall”. ~ Sahih Muslim 2834

Purification of the heart

“Imam Mawlud says that seeking refuge with God is the most efficacious treatment for all diseases of the heart. Sidi ibn Ashir says “The only real cure for all these diseases is to go to God with complete unconditional imploring”. What is meant here is urgently seeking refuge in God’s protection and guidance, to seek this as if one were holding onto a thread over a canyon. It is begging, which before God is honourable…Imam Mawlud says that one should be like a person drowning in the sea or stranded in a desert without any provision. A moment of desperation can often be the best thing that ever happens to a person.” – Hamza Yusuf

“If a person is worried about how others may receive him, then he is not aligned with reality”.

Purification of the heart, Imam al-Mawlid trans. Hamza Yusuf