“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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- “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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Final tip: Do not worry you’re not exaggerating the letters, Arabic actually sounds like that ! 😅
Peace ~Serenity O.
Pic: cypriotsister on IG
“And don’t panic from the incidents of the nights, incidents of life never last forever.” ~ Imam Shafi’i
“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
So I’ve started wearing niqab (TabarakAllah): see original post here. A friend made me a metallic/ shimmery dark purple half niqab that I wore today and… I felt absolutely beautiful 🌻.
London is in lockdown so I can’t really go anywhere except to the shops. I’m literally itching to go anywhere in niqab lol, I feel more excited than when I first wore hijab.
It’s interesting now I reflect on it that the feeling of internal beauty comes from God and God alone. Today was one of the most beautiful- feeling and confident days that I can remember yet no one could visibly see me.
I’m looking forward to embarking on this niqab journey and cultivating this feeling of internal bliss and calm.
A Soulscape xx
If you have watched the film The Truman Show you will have observed that all the actors in the life of Truman observed a specific unwavering routine. A certain driver in a car would pass, he would greet the same neighbours at the same time every day. Every eventuality in every day of his life would occur on time. This dance would transpire until the penny dropped in Truman’s mind that his life had been meticulously orchestrated. It was too perfect.
Have you realised dear reader, that you are Truman and your life is not yours?
Every night through the centuries desert dwellers have seen through the light of the stars. Century after century. They have passed now, but the stars continue to loyally observe their purpose. For you; and your children; and your children’s children. If you wake up at the crack of dawn the chorus of the birds begin, day in day out. At sunset the birds flock together and migrate only to repeat the sequence of events the following morning. They do not waver. Again the birds submit to and observe their purpose…right on schedule.
The earth has remained turning for millenia day in day out, darkness to light, light to darkness and repeat. Accommodating your sleep. Accommodating your body clock. Your heart beats without fail and the body grows in stages: held upright while most of us don’t even know the names of the structures and nerves that allow for this to occur. There is power in naming. We have no power because we cannot even name the substances that comprise and sustain us. The body is not ours therefore.
Every 150 years the earth’s population is renewed like wheat in a harvest without delay or question. The planets are kept in loyal orbit and the seasons elapse month after month. Year after year. The human is suspended in the womb and birthed into the world: there is only one way in. And similarly the human must one day leave the earth: there is only one way out. These doorways, entries and exists are a fact of your time here. Year in year out everyone of us passes through both doors. The seed sprouts; the plant one day wilts. Day in day out. The routine is concrete and unwavering. Like the routine Truman observes. Too perfect.
These are certainties that we simultaneously know and don’t know. The mind knows it but you have not thought on it via your innermost core / pure intellect (lubb). These certainties occur without disruption whether or not you realise what is happening.
Traveller, these certainties elapse in your life and you wade through existence absentmindedly immersed in one form of entertainment only to seek out and latch onto another. You are Truman and the penny has not yet dropped. And most will never hear the penny clattering to the ground. Think to yourself as Truman did “what is really happening here?” then crack the code and allow your eyes to pierce through a tapestry of shadows.
The universe exists because you do. It is there to accommodate you. It is at your service because it was created to sustain you for a brief moment of Divine observation before you are sorted and allocated to your actual life.
Today wake up, take action and see into the world through the eyes of your heart….
Peace and Blessings, A SoulscapeContinue reading
“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
“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