Monday, 11 October 2010

Ruqyah for children

Ruqyah consists of words said or written in the form of dua (supplication) or dhikr (remembrance of Allah SWT) for the purpose of protection and cure. It is sometimes accompanied with certain actions such as blowing or wiping over someone to whom it is applied. Our Prophet (SAW) warned against ruqyahs which involve shirk (associating partners with Allah SWT). There are some important conditions that must be satisfied for a ruqyah to be permissible. According to Ibn Hajar (RA), there is a consensus among the ‘ulama that a ruqyah is permissible when it satisfies three conditions:

1. It should be with Allah’s (SWT) words (the Qur’an) or using His names and attributes.
2. It should be in Arabic or of an intelligible meaning.
3. One must believe that it does not have an independent power by itself, but by Allah’s (SWT) will.

Ruqyah from the Qur’an
Surah Al-Fatihah - (Surah 1)
Ayat ul-Kursi – (Surah 2:255)
Surah Ikhlas – (Surah 112)
Surah Falaq – (Surah 113)
Suran Nas – (Surah 114)
The last three surahs of the Qur’an are called mu’awwithat (‘the protecting ones’)

The Prophet (SAW) said, “Say the mu’awwithat three times in the evening and in the morning. This will protect you from all (harmful) things.”
Aishah (RA) reported: “When Allah’s Messenger (SAW) went to bed, he would bring the palms of both hands together and blow into them while reciting ‘Qul huwa Llahu ahad’, ‘Qul a’uthu bi rabbi l-falaq’, and ‘Qul a’uthu bi rabb in’Naas’. He would then rub with them whatever he could reach of his body, starting with his head, face and the front of his body. He would do this three times. When he was too ill, he asked me to do this for him.” – (Bukhari and Muslim)
Abu Said al-Khudri (RA) reported: “Allah’s Messenger (SAW) used to seek Allah’s protection from jinns and evil eye with various supplications until the two mu’awwithat were revealed. After that he (SAW) adhered to them and left everything else.” – (At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)
Abu Said al-Khudri (RA) reported that Jibril (AS) visited the prophet (SAW) while sick and said to him, “O Muhammad, are you sick?” He replied, “Yes” Jibril (AS) said:
“Bismillahi arqik, min kullishay’in yu’thik, min sharri kulli nafsin aw ‘ayni haasid”
– “With Allah’s Name I shelter you, from all that ails you, from the evil of any soul and that of the envious eye. May Allah cure you; with Allah’s Name I shelter you.” – (Muslim)
‘Uthman Bin ‘Affan (RA) reported that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “Nothing would harm a slave who says three times every morning and evening:

‘Bismillah il-lathi laa yadurru ma’ asmihi shay’un fil ardi wala fis-sama’I wahuw as-sami ul-alim’
– ‘I shelter myself with the name of Allah, the One with whose name nothing can cause harm or earth or in the heaven. He is the Healer, the Knower.’” – (Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi)

Prophet (SAW) has taught us how to avoid the evil eye. Children are especially vulnerable to the evil eye. The supplications we can do for our children are given below:
‘Abdullah Bin ‘Abbas (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) sought Allah’s protection for his grandchildren, al-Hasan (RA) and al-Husayn (RA), with the same supplication that Ibrahim (AS) said for his children Ismail (AS) and Ishaq (AS):
“U’ithukuma bikalimati illah it-taammah, min kulli shaytaanin wa-haammah, wa min kulli ‘aynin laammah”
- “I shelter both of you with Allah’s complete words from every devil and harmful creature, and from every envious eye.” - (Bukhari)
And Allah (SWT) tells us that upon delivering Maryam (AS), her mother sought Allah’s protection for her and her descendents from Satan:
“Allahumma inni u-idhuha [hu] bika wa dhurriyyataha [hu] mina’sha-shaytani’r-rajiim(i).”
- “O Allah, I put her [him], and her [his] progeny under Your protection from Satan, the accursed”
- (Qur’an Surah 3:36)

One of my favourite persian dessert

In Iran , this dessert is made in every sort of occasion. I love this dessert. It brings back sweet memory of my childhood in Iran. I remember eating whole bowl at so many occasions. When we went back to our country of origin, I used to ask my mother to make it for me. Now being a adult myself I dodn't have any excuse of not making it myself :-) Hope you will enjoy making this beautiful dessert insha-Allah.

Saffron Rice Pudding or Shol-e Zard

2 cups rice
6-8 cups water
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon saffron
3 tablespoons hot water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup rose water
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup almonds slivered
2 tablespoons pistachios, chopped or slivered

Rinse the rice well with cold water. Place it in a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Cook gently for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the rice is very tender, skim the surface occasionally. Add the sugar, and continue boiling gently, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, like a custard and you can no longer see whole grains of rice. Dissolve the saffron in hot water and add. Melt the butter and stir in. Stir in the rose water and the slivered almonds. Continue stirring over a medium or low heat until the mixture becomes quite thick.

Pour the mixture in a bowl. Sprinkle the cinnamon, and pistachios on top of the mixture. You may even create designs using the cinnamon and powdered pistachios. Cool before serving.

Pakistan: A country dear to my heart

My parents are from Bangladesh but my father was studying for his Medical degree in Pakistan so I was born in Lahore, Pakistan. Lahore is the capital of Pakistani province Punjab and it is also the second largest city after Karachi. The city lies along the Ravi River. It is called the Garden of Mughals due to it’s rich Moghul heritage.
It successively served as provincial capital of the empires of the Shahi kingdoms in the 11th century, the Ghaznavids in the 12th century, the Ghurid State in the 12th and 13th century, the Mughal Empire in the 16th century, the Sikh Empire in the early 19th century, and it was the capital of the Punjab region under the British Raj in the mid 19th and early 20th century. Mughal structures such as the Badshahi Mosque, the Lahore Fort, Shalimar Gardens, and the mausolea of Moghul emperor Jehangir and his queen Nur Jehan are popular tourist attractions for the city. Lahore is also home to many British colonial structures built in the Mughal-Gothic style, such as the Lahore Museum and many older universities including the University of the Punjab. Lahore is often known as the cultural capital of Pakistan.
Lahore touched the zenith of its glory during the Mughal rule from 1524 to 1752. The Mughals, who were famous as builders, built some of its finest architectural monuments in Lahore . You can still visit these beautiful sites.
                      Lahore in photos

Badshahi mosque
The Lahore Fort: the hall of special audience

Moti masjid - the interior

Naulakha details

Shalamar garden : a Persian style garden

Shalamar garden

Tomb of Moghul emperor Jahangir

Tomb of Nurjahan

Lahore Museum

Lahore city

Friday, 8 October 2010

First tajweed lesson: 10 ways of recitation

I remember once my teacher talked about the importance of reciting the Quran with proper tajweed. Knowing how to recite the Quran is a must for every one of us. It’s a fard al-‘ayn not fard al-kifaya which means we all individually need to learn the rules of recitation. She told us if we cannot then at least we should learn to recite the surah Al-Fatihah with tajweed. It made me think whether we really have any valid excuse not to learn the tajweed! Can we really afford to know only surah Fatihah with tajweed? Alhamdulillah most of us are university educated that’s why not knowing the basics of reading the Qur’an is really a big failure for us.
Moreover, now being a mother alhamdulillah I feel like I must prepare myself to learn the tajweed as this is my duty to teach my children the Words of Allah (SWT). Now days it has become a norm to send our kids to the mosque or some sort of supplementary places to teach them the Qur’an. Most of the parents feel that they have fulfilled their responsibility by sending their kids to learn the Qur’an. I really want to be in control of what my children are learning as I believe as parents we know what is best for our children. Being a teacher myself I know how hard it is to teach 20 to 30 children within couple of hours. No way, it is possible to give each one of them proper time and care. Not all of the students are of same abilities. Some are slow learners and some are quick learners but treating them all in a similar way is a recipe for disaster. Working in different sorts of educational institutes has made me rethink about education and how it’s need to be delivered to our children. I am still doing my research on various styles of education. I am hoping to write about my findings very soon insha-Allah.

Now back to the tajweed. Alhamdulillah I have just started my tajweed classes. I was a bit worried thinking since university I haven’t really done any long term course so I may be a bit slow in understanding new concepts. But alhamdulillah our tajweed teacher Umm Fatimah seems a very friendly sister and very approachable alhamdulillah. She has a good sense of humour. May Allah (SWT) reward her for teaching us this important science! She reminded us the reason why we are learning tajweed. Insha-Allah through learning the Quran with proper tajweed we are hoping to get closer to Allah (SWT). This should be our ultimate goal insha-Allah, not to feel ‘proud’ that we know the rules or brag about it! She talked about the history of the Qur’an and how it was compiled and why there are ten different ways of recitation. It was quite fascinating to know all the details alhamdulillah.

The Qur’an is the sacred Words of Allah (SWT) sent to prophet Muhammad (SAW) through angel Jibreel (AS). He (AS) recited the Qur’an to him (SAW) and our prophet (SAW) recited back to him to check that he (SAW) recited the verses correctly. According to a tradition (Hadith), our prophet (SAW) told us to learn the Qur’an from four companions. They are: Ali (Raw), Abdullah Ibn Masud (RAW), Abdullah Ibn Abbas (RAW) and Ubay Ibn Ka’b (RAW). Just to clarify this hadith doesn’t imply that all the other companions didn’t understand the Qur’an but it was the habit of our beloved prophet (SAW) to tell his companions about their individual talents and what they should do with that talent.

These great companions had lots of students who learnt from them about the Qur’an. One of the famous students of Ali (RAW) was Abu ‘Abdir Rahman As-Sulami (RA) and the famous student of Abdullah Ibn Masud was Dhir bin Habashi (RA). Imam Aasim (RA) from Kufa learnt the Qur’an from both of the imams; As-Sulami (RA) and Dhir bin Habashi (RA). Imam Aasim (RA) had two very prominent students: Hafs ibn Sulayman (RA) and Shu’bah (RA).

The ten recitors and  imams :
There were five prominent provinces around the Islamic world where the great imams were very active in their effort to learn and teach the science of the Quran. These were: Makkah, Madinah, Sham, Kufa and Basra. Imam Ibn Katheer (RA) was based in Makkah, Imam Naafi’ (RA) and Imam Abu J’afar (RA) were based in Madinah, Imam Ibn ‘Amir (Ra) was based in Sham, there were three imams based in Kufa: Aasim (RA), Al-Kasaaie (RA) and Hamzah (RA). Imam Abu ‘Amr (RA) and Imam Y’aqub (RA) were based in Basra. So these are the nine imams whose recitation styles are well documented and followed by Muslims. There is one more imam called Khalaf Al-‘Aashar who was the student of imam Hamza (RA). He is the 10th imam and recitor of one style. All these great imams have similar rank and all of them have chains as a proof that their style was valid and followed by the companions. The great fact is all the different styles of recitation are well-documented through the hard work of imams and scholars of that time Subhanallah. Imam Ash-Shataby (RA) has explained the seven ways of recitation. He (RA) compiled a poem to make it easy to remember the various rules. The poem is called Ash-Shaatabiyyah. Imam Ibn Al-Jazaree (RA) explained the other three styles (Ad-Durrah). We cannot imagine how much hard work they had to do to write down all the intricate details of the rules of recitation Subhanallah! The differences are blessing to us. Because of their efforts, we don’t have doubts regarding the 10 different ways of recitation. We respect all of the imams and their work.

However, most of us recite according to Imam Hafs (from Imam Aasim RA upon the way of Ash-Shaatabiyyah). So now it makes us think how come this way of recitation is the most popular one. There was a king in Egypt called Farooq who ordered to make lots of copies according to Hafs style and distributed the copies through out the Islamic world. Thus this style has become a prominent one but that doesn’t imply that all the other styles are not valid. Lots of Muslims in Morocco recite according to Imam Naafi’ (RA).

I tried to note down some of the details about the ten different styles of recitation. Please forgive me as it is not really a comprehensive description to follow. This post is to remind myself and my blog readers a bit about how the different styles of recitation came to exist.

Now the fascination story of how the holy Qur’an was compiled in a book form! According to a hadith, prophet Muhammad (SAW) told us that the Qur’an will be in a book form. During his (SAW) time, companions used to memorize the Qur’an through his (SAW) recitation. Only some of the verses were written on leather, leaves etc. There were quite a lot of companions who memorized the whole Qur’an mashallah. Someone who memorizes the Qur’an is called a hafidh. During the era of Sayyidina Abu Bakr (RAW) due to wars, lots of hafidh companions were martyred. The situation made the remaining companions quite worried about the future of the Qur’an. The khalifa sayyidina Abu Bakr (RAW) asked the scribe of prophet Muhammad (SAW) Zayd ibn Thabit (RAW) to make a copy of the Qur’an. Zayd (RAW) used to write letters and some verses from the Quran for our beloved prophet (SAW) and that’s why he was called the scribe of him (SAW). However Zayd (RAW) wasn’t really willing to do the work as he was fearful of doing something which hasn’t been done during the prophet Muhammad (SAW)’s time. He kept making lots of prayers for guidance. Eventually Siyyidina Abu Bakr (RAW) and Umar (RAW) managed to convince him to embark upon this great project Alhamdulillah. Just imagine if they didn’t do this how on earth we would have been able to read the Qur’an! They have done so much for us! No way we can pay them back Subhanallah! May Allah (SWT) reward them with the best, Ameen!

Although Zayb Ibn Thabit (RAW) did agree to make a copy of the Qur’an, he placed a condition. For every verse of the Qur’an he demanded two very reliable witnesses. Alhamdulillah due to availability of great companions, he (RAW) was able to compile a copy. Thus all the verses of the Qur’an have two witnesses except the last two verses of Suran At-Tawba. Now get ready for another beautiful story! Abu Khuzaymah (RAW) was the witness for the last two verses of the suran At-Tawba. Once a Bedouin falsely accused prophet (SAW) of not giving him his stuff back and asked for a witness to prove otherwise although he knew there wasn’t a witness present when the transaction took place. Abu Khuzaymah (RAW) was just passing by and heard the accusation and asked the prophet (SAW) that he wants to be the witness. The prophet (SAW) was surprised and asked him why he wants to be the witness for him when he wasn’t even present there while the transaction occurred. Abu Khuzaymah said he firmly believes that prophet (SAW) has brought the truth from Allah SWT and everything he (SAW) says is the truth so he doesn’t have any doubt that prophet Muhammad (SAW) has given the stuff back to the bedouin. After this incident, the prophet (SAW) stated that the witness of Abu Khuzaymah equals to witness of two people. This took place years before the Quran was compiled and only Allah (SWT) knew that it is going to be Abu Khuzamah who is going to be given the task of being the witness to the last two ayats of suaran At-Tawbah Subhanallah!

So the Qur’an was compiled by Zayd Ibn Thabit (RAW) and was preserved by the khulafae Rashedoon (Era of Sayyidina Abu Bakr RAW and Umar RAW). After Uman (RAW)’s death it was looked after by Hafsa (RAW) wife of prophet Muhammad (SAW) and daughter of Umar (RAW). This one and only copy of the written Qur’an did not have the harakat (vowels i.e fatha, dhamma, kasra ) or the dots . In the beginning the Qur’an was only read by native Arabs so that wasn’t an issue for them. However, as the Islamic empire was expanding so rapidly and the message of Islam was reaching to non-Arabs, reading the Qur’an without the harakat got harder. This also created the possibility of not reciting the Qur’an properly. At the time of Sayyidina Uthman (RAW) Hudhayfah (RAW) came to voice his concern regarding this matter. As a result, they asked Zayd Ibn Thabit (RAW) and some other prominent companions to make some more copies with harakat to eliminate the possibility of not reading the Mushaaf correctly. They (RAW) used the main copy which was kept with Hafsa (RAW) as a guide and later gave the copy back to her. The copies with the harakat (vowels) were sent to different provinces of Islamic empire so that new Muslims can learn the Qur’an with the correct manner.
May Allah (SWT) give us the ability to learn the Qur’an with tajweed and help us to get closer to Him, ameen!

Mishary Rashid reciting Surah Ikhlaas in 10 styles

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Tajweed lesson: Sounds of The Scripture

Alhamdulillah I am really excited about tomorrow! Insha-Allah we are having our first tajweed lesson  insha-Allah. The sister who is going to teach us the tajweed has studied in Egypt and memorized the ten different ways of recitation of the Qur'an in one year! Subhanallah! I am very excited to meet her isha-Allah. I really want to recite the Quran with the correct rulings. I have learnt a bit of the rulings while I was at university but I want to do it properly now. There are going to be twenty lessons which hopefully finish at the end of December insha-Allah. We have to attend the lesson every Mondays and Thursdays. I hope to learn a lot insha-Allah so that hopefully I can teach my children the art of reciting the Quran Insha-Allah and hopefully help others too. I don't really want to depend on somebody else to teach them the Qur'an. I strongly believe we as parents need to take full responsibility of teaching our children our beatiful faith. Insha-Allah hope to blog on a regular basis to share how much I am learning insha-Allah. Please do share your tips insha-Allah.