Advice for parents of kids memorizing Quran

Memorizing the entire Qur’an is a dream many Muslim parents today have for their children. And indeed, this is a goal nobler than many if not all others. However, after children have memorized a number of surahs and perhaps even a juz or two of the Qur’an, there is a question that plagues many parents: how do I know if my child is ready to commit to memorizing the entire Qur’an?

Parents should be aware that doing hifz of the Qur’an is not a small task. It requires a tremendous amount of effort, focus, and dedication on behalf of the student, parent(s), and the teacher. Therefore, when deciding whether or not to enroll your children in a hifz program, you should make sure that you, the child, and the teacher are prepared for this huge and blessed commitment. If the child has a Qur’an teacher, ask the teacher if s/he feels your child is capable of doing hifz of the Qur’an. If the teacher thinks that the child indeed has the focus and persistence needed to memorize the Qur’an and that he does a very good job memorizing surahs, then you may consider enrolling the child in a hifz program. However, first you, the parent, must make sure that you are willing to expend the time and effort needed to support your child during this endeavor. If not, it may not be best to put this responsibility on the child’s shoulders. Last, but certainly not least, the child should be asked if he or she is willing to strive to become a hāfiz or hāfiza. If the child says no, then the parent should drop the idea, at least until the child is willing to make this commitment.

Unfortunately, many parents do not follow this advice, which was given by Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad Naqshbandi Mujaddidi (db), a very well-known and authentic scholar, hāfiz, and spiritual guide from Pakistan. Parents often force their children to do hifz, when it is not fard (obligatory) on everyone to memorize the entire Qur’an. Children should only be enrolled in a hifz program if they are happy and willing to commit to this blessed task.

Okay, so you decided your child is ready to do start doing hifz. What next?

After children are enrolled in a hifz class, the children’s parents and teachers should encourage them and teach him with love, care, softness, and gentleness. When children are taught by someone with these characteristics they soar and reach heights they may have never imagined.

In contrast, under no circumstances should the parents or the teacher beat children for not memorizing or doing well on their lessons. When parents and teachers show children such harsh behavior, there is a danger of them losing their desire to recite the Qur’an and love for Islam. How many students are there who memorized the Qur’an under a harsh teacher and, after completing the memorization, stopped revising the Qur’an and therefore forgot what they had worked so hard to memorize? How many huffāzwent on to become astray and began leading a life of sin? There are unfortunately many such cases, and often the reason is that those students had been taught the Qur’an with harshness and force.

It is much better if a child happily memorizes half, or even a juz, of the Qur’an rather than being beaten and forced into memorizing the entire Qur’an.

The following are some additional things the parents of hifz students can do to help their children succeed:

  • Make du’ā for your child. Parents’ du’ā for their children is extremely valuable and it is the best gift you can give them. Allah (swt) is the only one who can truly help a person in any matter, which of course includes memorizing His Blessed words.
  • Help and encourage your child to abstain from sins. Light and darkness cannot coexist in the same place. Similarly, by nature, the dazzling radiance of the Qur’an and the darkness of sins simply cannot gather in one place. Watching movies, missing prayers, listening to music, and engaging in other sins are displeasing to Allah (swt), and this has a detrimental impact on both students’ memorization and on their connection with Allah (swt). However, parents must keep in mind that they should remind children to abstain from sins with love and softness rather than through fear and force.
  • Be a good role model. When your children see you reading the Qur’an, then they will very likely be encouraged to do the same, Insha’Allah. The same goes for praying salāh, engaging in Allah’s (swt) dhikr (remembrance), etc. Engaging in acts of ibādah causes a person’s soul to grow, very similar to the way food causes a person’s body to grow. A stronger soul will make it easier for your child to memorize the Qur’an, Insha’Allah.
  • Make sure your child is eating the right foods. It is crucial to make sure that your child consumes only halāl foods. Consumption of harām foods is of course prohibited, and it may negatively impact a person’s progress in his or her memorization of the Qur’an. There are several breads, cereals, etc. that contain harām ingredients and we must be very wary of the foods that enter our bodies and the bodies of our children. Also, make sure your children eat nutritious meals, that they maintain a balanced diet, and that they eat a healthy breakfast before class every morning so that they are energized for class, Insha’Allah!
  • Help your child create a schedule. It is necessary for hifz students to devote at least a few hours every day for their memorization and revision. It is beneficial to create a set time for this task, as it will help ensure that neither memorization nor revision ever gets “skipped.” The times after Fajr and after Maghrib are very blessed times for memorization and revision, but any time of the day that is convenient will work, Insha’Allah.

Of course, even if the parents and teacher put their maximum effort into helping a student, if the student is not willing to strive to achieve his or her goals, then there will be very little progress. The following are a few, but not all, of the qualities that should be found in every student willing to memorize the Qur’an. Some of these qualities come with time, so if your children are lacking in any of them, then you and their Qur’an teacher(s) should try your best to patiently and gently instill these qualities in them. Moreover, if you yourself are a person who is striving to memorize the Qur’an, check to make sure you are making an effort to obtain the following qualities:

  • Sincerity. Hifz students should recognize that the only reason they are memorizing the Qur’an is to please Allah (swt). Attaining the pleasure of Allah (swt) is the purpose of every mu’min’s (believer’s) life, and everything he or she does should be a step towards that ultimate goal, Insha’Allah.
  • Devotion. Hifz students must be aware of the blessing and responsibility that Allah (swt) has gifted them with. They should recognize that memorizing the Qur’an takes a great amount of time and effort and they should be willing to expend that time and effort on their memorization and revision.
  • Concentration. When hifz students are memorizing their lessons or revising their previous lessons, they should be fully concentrating on what they are reading. All distractions should be eliminated and their attention should be on the blessed words of their Creator.
  • Self-Discipline. Although parents are most certainly encouraged to remind and help their children practice their lessons, hifz students should recognize that this is their responsibility, given to them by Allah (swt). They should not need someone to constantly remind them to practice their lessons. They should know that practicing Qur’an may sometimes mean that they will have to wait a couple hours before getting to play or engage in other activities, but that they must finish their memorization and revision before play in order to progress and reach their goals.
  • Patience. Hifz students should realize that some lessons are not as easy as others and that they might not always see the results of their efforts as soon as they like. Hifz takes time and students should not become frustrated if they are not reaching their goals quickly. Hifz students should know that although memorizing may sometimes seem a little difficult, they should never give up and that their efforts are never done in vain—for any effort to please Allah (swt) is never done in vain. Hifzstudents should know that if they keep trying their best to perfect their memorization of Allah’s (swt) words, Allah (swt) will make it easier for them and allow them to reach their goals, Insha’Allah.
  • Gratitude. Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an: “If you express gratitude, I shall certainly give you more” (14:7). Although we can never thank Allah (swt) enough for the countless blessings He bestows upon us, when hifz students are grateful to Allah (swt) for allowing them to memorize His blessed words, He will Insha’Allah make it easier for them to memorize the Qur’an. When the great ImāmAbu Hanifa (rah) would understand a new concept, he would say “alhamdulillah,” and thereafter Allah (swt) would increase his knowledge. Hifz students should make an effort to constantly thank Allah (swt) for all the blessings He has given them, particularly this blessing of memorizing the Qur’an. If possible, they should try to make it a habit to pray at least two nafl (optional) rak’āt salāt-ul-shukr (prayer of thanks) every day, Insha’Allah (however, parents should not force their children to pray these two rak’āt).
  • Humility. It is natural for students, children and adults alike, to compare themselves to their peers, and sometimes students who memorize the Qur’an begin to think of themselves as better than others. However, it is very important for parents and educators to gently remind students that this opportunity of memorizing the Qur’an is a gift from Allah (swt) and that we have no reason to be arrogant because of it. Allah (swt) does not like arrogance and He can easily take that gift away, God forbid, and give it to someone else instead. Hifz students should be humble and should know that the fact that they are memorizing the Qur’an does not necessarily make them better than their peers. The heavier the fruit, the lower the branch bows. Similarly, the more knowledge Allah (swt) gives a person, the more humble the person should become, as we are absolutely nothing compared to Allah’s (swt) infinite greatness.

Perhaps your child has already completed his or her memorization of the Qur’an, whether recently or years ago. Or perhaps you have completed your memorization of the Qur’an. In either case, huffāz must do their best to maintain a schedule of revision. It takes approximately 10,000 focused hours to excel in any field [of] the dunya, which means that it will take at least that much time to excel in a field [of] thedeen. Hence, the time spent doing the actual memorization is just the formation of the base—the real excellence in hifz comes much later. Huffāz and their parents alike often forget the importance of regularly revising the Qur’an after the memorization has been completed and students get busy with school and other responsibilities. However, it is crucial for huffāz to remember the gift and responsibility Allah (swt) has given them and, thus, to continue to consistently revise the Qur’an for the rest of their lives—which they will naturally be driven to do if they had a soft, encouraging, gentle, loving, and caring learning experience, Insha’Allah.

Additionally, huffāz are encouraged to acquire knowledge of the deen, to teach the Qur’an to others if they get the opportunity, and to practice upon the Qur’an that Allah (swt) chose their hearts to preserve.

May Allah (swt) keep us on the straight path and may He make it easy for us and our children to excel in memorizing, retaining, and practicing upon the Qur’an with love and happiness. Ameen.

Source: http://muslimvillage.com/2014/05/23/53479/advice-for-parents-of-kids-memorizing-quran/

The Importance of “Lá iláha illalláh”

The belief in the words of “Lá iláha illallah” cause one to enter Islam, to refute all deities and accept Allah as the only God and Lord of the Universe and what it contains. No one can be a Muslim without believing and adhering to the tenets of of Lá iláha illallah.

Lá iláha illallah is the belief in the divine lordship of Allah (referred to as “ruboobiyyah”), meaning believing that Allah is the only one power who creates, gives life and death, and maintains the affairs of all that’s in this universe.

Lá iláha illallah is the belief in the divine nature (referred to as “uloohiyyah”), meaning believing that Allah is the only one to whom people should devote their words and actions of worship. None therefore should be worshipped but Him.

Lá iláha illallah is the belief in the names and attributes of Allah (referred to as “al-asma’ wa’l-sifaat”), which means affirming what Allah has affirmed for Himself of names and attributes, and denying any attributes that Allah has said are not His, without denying any of His attributes or likening any of His attributes to the attributes of any of His creation.

The excerpts of the sermon that follows later in this post is on the topic of Lá iláha illallah and was delivered by the Muslim leader Umar bin Abdul Aziz who sometimes is considered as the fifth caliph in Islam. He was from the Umayyad dynasty and ruled the Muslims from 717 to 720 CE. He was the great-grandson of the companion of the Prophet Muhammad, Umar bin Al-Khattab. Within Islamic history, he was known to be extremely pious and disdainful of worldly luxuries. He preferred simplicity to the extravagance that had become a hallmark of the Umayyad lifestyle, depositing all assets meant for the caliph into the public treasury. He abandoned the caliphate palace and instead preferred to live in modest dwellings.

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Umar bin Abdul Aziz delivered the sermon (excerpts follow) on assuming the leadership of the Muslims and highlights the importance of living by the tenets of Láiláha illallah.

All praise is due to Alláh, Who opened the doors of knowledge to those who strived in His worship by granting them the key that is Lá iláha illallah (there is no deity worthy of worship except Alláh).

He resurrected the hearts of the knowledgeable worshippers and filled the cups of those who always remember Him from the fountain of Lá iláha illallah.

He perfected the creation, brought them into existence and sealed this perfection with Lá iláha illallah.

He Who created the fetus from a worthless fluid (semen) so that mankind may worship Him with Lá iláha illalláh.

He sent the Messengers to deliver the good news of this Word Lá iláha illalláh and to warn against whatever contradicts it and to understand its implications.

Lá iláha illalláh is the pillar of the religion and the Thick Rope of Alláh; those who adhere to Lá iláha illalláh will never earn failure.

Verily, the minds of the ignorant ones were led astray and the hearts of the stubborn infidels have earned misguidance on account of their taking two gods, even after the full moon of Lá iláha illallah has risen.

“So know (O Muhammad SAW) that La ilaha ill-Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), and ask forgiveness for your sin, and also for (the sin of) believing men and believing women.” Quran (47:19)

Muhammad (peace be upon him) embraced this word and declared it. So! Fear Alláh the Exalted and renew your faith by night and by day by contemplating the meanings of Lá iláha illalláh.

O you who have wisdom! Seek your means of (eternal) success granted only to the people of Lá iláha illalláh.

Surely, Lá iláha illalláh is the Word of Islam and the key to the Dwelling of Peace (Paradise).

Verily, the heavens and earth would never have remained, nor would anyone acquire safety on the Day of Gathering except by Lá iláha illalláh.

The humankind divided into two parts and went two separate ways: a group of them adhered to Lá iláha illalláh and the other group strayed away from it. They refused it because they knew that the religion of their ancestors would be annulled if they embraced Lá iláha illalláh. All praise is due to He Who made His slaves different from each other with His Wisdom and Will. Indeed, this is one of the proofs to Lá iláha illalláh.

Tuba (a tree in Paradise) is for those who know the meaning of this testimonial, agree with it and practice its implication inwardly and outwardly. By doing so, they would be realizing and tasting the true essence of Lá iláha illalláh. Verily, woe to those who were driven by the devil to fall into polytheism! They became filled to the top with associating others with Alláh in worship and consequently refused with arrogance to submit to Lá iláha illalláh.

Have you not heard Alláh’s Statement:

“And those whom they invoke instead of Him have no power of intercession; except those who bear witness to the truth (i.e. believed in the Oneness of Allah, and obeyed His Orders), and they know (the facts about the Oneness of Allah).” Quran (43:86)

The true essence of Lá iláha illalláh entails directing all acts of worship, intentions and thoughts to Alláh Alone rather than any other object. All other objects of worship are annulled and refuted by Lá iláha illalláh. This is what is meant by disbelieving in Taghut and believing in Alláh Alone, and this is how the heart is purified of anything that is not for Alláh Alone, and cleansed from the intention to commit whatever Alláh has prohibited or dislike for whatever He has commanded.

This is the true essence of Lá iláha illalláh, contrary to the practice of those who utter this testimonial with their words, but contradict it with their actions. These people, do not benefit from saying La iláha illal/ah.

Directing any act of worship to other than Alláh and associating any among the creation with Him in worship are acts of disbelief, even if one pronounced La iláha illalláh a thousand times with his tongue. It was once said to Al Hasan Al-Basri: “Some people say that those who proclaim La iláha illalláh shall enter Paradise.” He said, “Yes. For those who proclaim this word and fulfill its implications and requirements, then saying La iláha illalláh shall enter them into Paradise.” In addition, Wahb bin Munbih asked: “Is not La iláha illalláh the key to Paradise?” He said, “Yes. However, every key has teeth; if you use a key that has teeth it will open for you, otherwise it will not open.”

Therefore, these types of people will not benefit from proclaiming La iláha illalláh because they do not say it from their hearts.

We advise you, O Muslims, to never think that Shirk (Polytheism, which contradicts La iláha illalláh is far away from you, because there are tremendous hindrances and lures that seek to corrupt the sincerity of your uttering La iláha illalláh.

Where are those who associate none with Alláh in regards to their love, fear, hope and worship? Where are those who direct their humbleness, submissiveness, reverence, intention and reliance to Alláh Alone, all the while trusting in Him for each and every thing? All these qualities are parts of the meaning of La iláha illalláh.

O slaves of Alláh, rush to the forgiveness of your Lord and a paradise as wide as the heavens and earth prepared for the Muttaqin (the pious). They are those who fulfill the duties and responsibilities of La iláha illalláh. They are those, who have not placed any other iláh (god) along with Alláh.

Verily, I am a plain warner to you from Him. Hold on to the pillars of La iláha illalláh. Surely, those who reject what La iláha illalláh rejects, assert what it asserts…, then this word will elevate them to the highest grades the grades of La iláha illalláh.

May Alláh direct us all to the blessings of the Noble Qurán and benefit us in whatever is in it of the Áyát and Wise Dhikr. I say this and ask Alláh the Great, and the Most Honored for forgiveness for me, you and all Muslims for every sin. Seek His forgiveness, for He is the Most Forgiving, Most Merciful. {Source: Selected Friday Sermons}

Consider this hadith on the value that Allah the Exalted placed on La iláha illalláh

Abu Sa`eed al-Khudri said, that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

“Moses (Alayhi salam) said: O Lord! Teach me something that I can remember You with and I can supplicate You with. Allah said: “Say ‘La ilaha ill Allah’, O Musa.” He (Musa) said: All of your servants say this. He (Allah) said: “If the seven Heavens and those who dwell in them other than Me and the seven Earths are put into one pan (of the scale) and ‘La ilaha ill Allah’ is put into the other; ‘La ilaha ill Allah’ would be heavier.” [Ibn Hibbaan and Haakim]

The Messenger of Allah (Sall’Allahu alayhi wa salam) said (narrated by Jabir bin `Abdullah):

“The best Dhikr (remembering Allah) is La ilaha illallah and the best supplication is Al-Hamdu Lillah.” [At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah]

Let’s ensure that we never forget to make the letters La ilaha illallah a constant part of our living moments and to live by what those letters stand for. Remember, our success in this life and the hereafter is all tied to La ilaha illallah.

– End

Source: iqrasense.com

Qur’an Recitation in Christmas Carols?

As the procession of clergy and choir singers made its way down the aisle towards a candle-lit altar, solemnly following the cross and Bible held high, there was one thing that looked out of place… It was me, a hijabi Muslim girl in a Christian service!

The last time I stood at a church lectern reading out from Holy Scripture, I was at primary school, a timid girl reciting words from the New Testament. Over two decades later, I find myself again at the lectern of a beautiful 19th century chapel, this time invited by the chaplain to read translated verses from the Qur’an.

I felt a sense of both honor and humility, as I read the account in Surah Maryam (Qur’anic chapter 19) relating how the Angel Gabriel appears to inform the blessed Virgin that she is to bear a pure son. I was not here to convert the masses, but to confirm where our faiths overlap, to feel a connection –, one of spirituality, one of humanity.

As a child, I attended service every Monday at my Church of England school – to this day, I know the Lord’s Prayer by heart along with countless hymns, as do many British Muslims of my generation. We had a plastic Christmas tree at home and we ate halal turkey in Christmas occasion. Both my brother and I were in nativity plays; as the only Asian in his school, he was of course the black king. I was an angel, or possibly a sheep. For most Muslim families in the eighties, it was normal for their children to take part in festivities while for some others, it was tantamount to blasphemy.

A Compromise of Faith?

Just last week, a young Muslim mother called me for advice about her five year old son being in a nativity play. She told me how excited he was to take part with his friends, but she was a little shaken by what a few members of the community had said to her: “Take your son out of the play right away,” they warned, “he may turn Christian.”

As perplexing as this sounded to me, it seemed these individuals feared a compromise of faith, whereas I can only see a strengthening of it. Perhaps I cannot say with certainty whether a five year old would incur spiritual upheaval or transformation by re-enacting another’s religious tradition, but it is dangerous ground when you disconnect your child from the world around him, from other faiths, cultures and customs, cocooning him in a homogenous bubble. For me, denying that experience reflects insecurity about one’s own faith and it is an attitude that sits uncomfortably in a multi-faith society.

Contrary to unpopular belief, I have not ‘turned Christian’, in fact, I feel more Muslim for being part of this experience. Some may question my being in a Christian procession, and of course people are entitled to hold their criticisms. Yet the choir’s singing stirred my connection with the Divine. These hymns are sung not with the intention to entertain but for a higher purpose, which is to glorify God. To learn of other faith experiences in profound and relevant ways would not only enrich my own understanding and approach to religion in general, but would also give me a deeper sense of purpose to my own faith.

It Was a Joyful Experience!

That the chaplaincy of Royal Holloway University chapel sought to include a reading from the Qur’an embedded in this Christian service is testament to a more embracing and open approach that can only be admired. “Christmas is a joyful celebration of God’s love made real among all people,” the chaplaincy stated, “so it is with particular pleasure we welcome representatives of the Jewish and Islamic faiths, which have so much shared heritage with Christianity.” Now that’s what I call peripheral vision.

It is fitting that I gave a reading in the chapel of my alma mater, as it was here that I began life as a hijabi, here where my faith deepened. During the moving choral song, I remembered my father, who in a similar experience gave a reading from the Qur’an in a church service some thirty years ago. My father may have departed this world, but his attitude and vision, one that sought to build community relations through mutual respect and understanding, lives on in me.

Our beliefs, our creed and our faith expressions are different, contrary, worlds apart even, but this only makes the common ground that we stand upon all the more sacred.

A beautiful story about Quran

An old American muslim lived on a farm in the mountains of eastern Kentucky with his young grandson. Every morning Grandpa was up early sitting at the kictchen table reading his Quran.

His grandson wanted to be just like him and tried to imitate him in every way he could. One day the grandson asked, “Grandpa! I try to read the Quran just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forgot as soon as I close the book. What good reading the Quran do?”

The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and relied, “Take this coal basket to the river and bring me back a basket of water.

The boy did as he was told, but all the water leaked out before he got back to the house. The grandfather laughed and sai, “you’ll have to move a little faster next time,” and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again.

This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was impossible to carry water in a basket, and he went to get a buket instead. the old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water.

You’re just not trying hard enough,” and he went out the door to watch the boy trying. All this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather the even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got back to the house.

The boy again dipped the basket into river and ran hard, nut when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, “See Grandpa. it’s useless!”

“So you think it is useless?” The old man said, “Look at the basket.” The boy looked at the basket and for the first time realized that the basket was different. It had been transformed from a dirty old coal basket and was now clean, inside and outside.

Son, that’s what happens when you read the Quran . You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, you will be changed, inside and outside when you read time by time. That is the work of Allah in our lives. . . .

Real Leaders Lead By Example

penguins-lead“O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do?” – Qu’ran, 61:2

We hear it often, people say “success breathes success”. Whether it be in the context of a business, organization, or a captain of a team. Without true leaders, success doesn’t permeate. One thing that has constantly amazed me about these leaders is that they don’t show arrogance. Nor do they neglect or belittle any work that is being executed by the workers they manage. A combination of God consciousness and humbleness, keeps them in check. Continue reading Real Leaders Lead By Example

Plants of the Qur’an: Olives

By the fig and the oliveBy Mount SinaiBy this city of securityVerily, We created man in the best stature. (95:1-4)

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Olive is of a major agricultural and cultural importance in all the 21 Mediterranean Countries.

Olives have been mentioned seven times in the Qur’an and their health benefits have been propounded in Prophetic medicine. The Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said: Continue reading Plants of the Qur’an: Olives

Ramadan: The month of Mercy raining

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Imagine for a moment that it’s raining. It is pouring, in fact. And inagine that you are inside your house, watching as it falls. But imagine that there is something very different about this rain. It is unlike any other you’re ever seen. On this day, it is not raining water. It is raining something much more precious to you. Imagine that on this day it is raining hundred rand bills. Continue reading Ramadan: The month of Mercy raining