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

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

On emptiness…Secrets of Divine Love by A Helwa

“Allah is As-Samad which does not just mean “self-sufficient” but comes from a root that means “solid, impenetrable, non-hollow.” Allah is the One with no holes, no parts, no separation. Where Allah is metaphorically whole, we are nothing but holes. We are made from atoms, which are 99.99999 percent made of empty space. In essence, when we reach for anything in existence other than Allah, we are reaching for emptiness.

A. Helwa, Secrets of Divine Love