Monday, 14 January 2013

Learning Qur'anic Arabic

Bismillah... In the name of the Most Merciful

Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Aalameen. All praise to Allah subhana wa ta’ala, this week I am going to start an online course to learn Qur’anic Arabic inshAllah. I am really looking forward to the course. I have always wanted to learn Arabic so that I can really appreciate the Qur'an but the courses were not really suitable for me. Being a busy mother of three children ranging from 20 months to 5 years,  also makes it quite hard to attend any course. But Alhamdulillah when we intend something good, Allah subhana wa ta’ala makes it easy for us to fulfil our dreams.  I hope I can really learn a lot inshAllah from the course.  I hope this Ramadan I will be able to understand at least some bits of the Qur’an without the English translation.  MashAllah the teacher seems really good. May Allah subhana wa ta’ala reward her for starting the course. You can find more about course at Arabic Gems.

InshAllah we will be following Professor Alan Jones’s Arabic through the Qur’an. Aside from being the very latest Arabic grammar written by an academic, one of the special features of the book is its exclusive use in its vocabulary of Qur’anic rather than modern Arabic. I am not that interested to learn the modern Arabic. Learning the Qur'anic Arabic is my priority inshAllah.
I hope to blog on a regular basis to keep a journal of my progress bi’idnillah and also share my experience with you all inshAllah. May Allah subhana wa ta’ala bless each student on the course with tawfique (ability) and tayseer (easiness) to learn the Qur’anic Arabic, ameen!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Brother Nouman Ali Khan's story night ( final part)

I have already written the first part so this is the final part. I hope we all can benefit from the notes, bi'idnillah. Apologies for the delay. Please do keep me and my family in your precious duas. For this part, I have used Mohsin Khan's translation of the Qur'an.
Musa (AS) realised that he made a mistake (hitting the man) and immediately asked Allah subhana wa ta'ala to forgive him. And he moved on which teaches us that we should never let our past rule our present and future.
Brother Nouman mentioned one of the names of Allah Subhana ta'ala 'Rakib' which roughly means that He is looking after us, taking care of us. We are like dumb sheep, almost jumping out of the cliff and He is holding all of us with the back of our necks! Subhanallah!
Now the 'juicy part' of the story :-) One of the generals of Pharaoh was a Muslim and a very close friend of Musa (AS). When the news of Musa (AS) killing the man, reached the generals, they had a meeting and decided to kill Musa (AS) on the spot, without giving him any chance to get to the palace and explain the incident. As Musa (AS) was growing up at Pharaoh’s palace, the generals were worried that Musa (AS) may be forgiven for the mistake. They really hated Musa (AS) and wanted him killed as soon as possible. His friend told him to get out of the city to save his life.
At this point, Musa (AS) makes another beautiful dua:
So he escaped from there , looking about in a state of fear. He said, "My Lord! Save me from the people who are Zalimuun (plytheists and wrong-doers)." And when he went towards (the land of) Madyan, he said, "It may be that my Lord guides me to the Right Way." [The Qur'an 28:21-22] 
You can notice that Musa (AS) is always connected to Allah subhana wa ta'ala by making sincere duas to Him. The most important thing a mother can teach her child is dua, sincere supplication to Allah subhana wa ta'ala. Dua is the essence of worship. It's also the weapon of believers. I personally can’t agree more. I have always been a ‘dua fan’ and subhanallah duas are so powerful! Nothing is possible without duas.
And when he arrived at the water (the well) of Madyan, he found there a group of men watering their flocks and besides them he found two women who were keeping back their flocks. He said: “What is the matter with you?" They said: "We cannot water our flocks until the shepherds take their flocks. And our father is an old shaikh." [The Qur'an 28:23]
When Musa (AS) saw the two women wrestling with their animals who wanted to drink water, he didn't understand why they were preventing their animal from drinking water. He was a very straight forward guy unlike most of the men of this time. Without changing his tone to 'impress' the women, he just said "What is wrong with you?" Here notice the answer by the women. They were righteous women. They didn't want to give water to their animal while some men were there with their animals. They were waiting. They also said that their father is a shaikh (Wa Abuuna shayhkun kabiruun). Shaykh can have couple of meanings, here is this context, it means old and of high status. So the two women mentioning this mean, we are from a good and respectable family. These women were working women. We can learn what haya really means from their behaviour. There is nothing wrong in interaction between men and women but we really need to behave in a respectful manner. Their father Shu'aib (AS) was a prophet. And to the people of Madyan, We sent their brother Shu'aib. He said: “O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other Ilaah (God) but Him." [The Qur'an 7:85]
So Musa (AS) watered their animal, then turned back to shade and said, "My Lord! Truly, I am in need of whatever good that You bestow upon me!" [The Qur'an 28:24]
After helping them, here again he is asking Allah subhana wa ta'ala to help him. And Allah subhana wa ta'ala as always answers his dua...
There came to him one of the two woman, walking shyly. She said: "Verily, my father calls you that he may reward you for having watered our flocks for us." So when he came to him and narrated the story, he said, “Fear you not. You have escaped from the people who are Zaalimun (polytheists, disbelievers and wrong-doers).” [The Qur'an 28:25]
Meeting Shu'aib (AS) was like a job interview for Musa (AS) but he didn't hide anything and told him everything.
Here brother Nouman talked about the concept of 'takalluf' which is an Urdu term roughly meaning help from others. Culturally in Indian sub-continent we have this belief that we should not accept peoples' offer to help us in any way as it's against our dignity. Brother Nouman argued that this is actually not an Islamic trait. When someone is offering us any service we should accept is as a favour from Allah subhana wa ta'ala.
We can see in the story that Musa (AS) has committed a big sin and he needed to move on. He immediately asked Allah subhana wa ta'ala to forgive him and was keen to do good deeds. He was looking for any opportunity to please Allah Subahana wa ta'ala. That's why he says, "My Lord! Truly, I am in need of whatever good that You bestow upon me!"
This just shows that we should develop a desperate attitude to do good deeds. It can be helping others in any form possible.
Another interesting thing we can notice in this story is the relationship between the daughters and the father. After knowing about Musa's kindness, Shu'aib (AS) sent one of the daughters to get Musa AS to come to talk to him. As she was going on her own, she approached him shyly. How much confidence a father must have to send his daughter on her own to ask a man to come to visit him! More interestingly, while the father and Musa (AS) talking to each other, one of the daughters calls him and says, " O my father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy." [The Qur'an 28:26]
What a close relationship between daughters and the parent! Here Shu'aib (AS) shows his confidence in his daughter's judgement and he offers Musa (AS) one of his daughter as a wife and also asks him to stay with them at least for 8 years or if he wants for 10 years.
He said: “I intend to wed one of these two daughters of mine to you, on condition that you serve me for eight years; but if you complete ten years, it will be a favour from you. But I intend not to place you under a difficulty. If Allah wills, you will find me one of the righteous." He [Musa] said: "That is settled between me and you: whichever of two terms I fulfil, there will be no injustice to me and Allah is Surety over what we say."[The Qur'an 28:27-28]
Here, the father after consulting the daughter understood that the daughter was impressed by Musa AS's righteousness. She didn't need to say more than that to convince her father. Also, we can see how the father and the potential son-in-law are negotiating with each other. This is a guideline for all of us. The father who is the wali (guardian) of the bride does all the negotiation, on behalf of his daughter, with the potential son-in-law. Culturally we are so accustomed with groom's parents or elders doing the negotiation with the father of the bride. Sometimes, the groom is the last person to know what mahar has been decided or all the conditions of the marriage! We also have an issue with some men, not being man enough to approach the father of the potential bride to ask for her hand. There are guys out there who claim that they like someone and would like to get married but they don't even have the courage to tell their own parents! Then how on earth they can talk to the potential father-in-law! We are living at a time where getting married is an overly complicated process. The guidelines of Islam are very simple and straight forward. We really need to do our research and make the whole process easy and viable for our youth.
MashAllah brother Nouman said quite a lot about this issue. I cannot really do justice to his amazing talk. So please do excuse me for not being able to express it properly in writing L
He also talked about some similarities between Surah Kasas and Surah Yusuf. In Surah Yusuf, Allah subhana wa ta’ala says that the story of Yusuf (AS) is one of the best stories of the Qur’an ( Ahsanul Kasas) In Surah Kasas, as we can see it’s Musa (AS)’s story. There is a connection between these two surahs. As we know, Yusuf (AS) spent most of his adult life in Egypt where Musa (AS) was originated from. Both stories talk about relationship between parents and children, great lessons for all the parents. Surah Yusuf deals with a father-focused story while Surah Kasas deals with a mother-focused story. Even some of the terms used by the parents are exactly the same. We cannot really appreciate the identical words and their use if we are not well-versed in Qur’anic Arabic. The qualities of the both prophets are also very similar: Allah subhana wa ta’ala mentions that both of them are blessed with wisdom (hikma) and knowledge (‘ilm). They both were men of Ihsaan. The moment Allah subhana wa ta’ala said that they were muhsinuun (did good deeds) their trial started.
There are so many similarities between the surahs. They are connected to each other. Unfortunately we don’t really talk about these amazing facts. The Qur’an is such a miraculous book but we don’t really study the Book and appreciate it. He said there is a big difference between understanding the Qur’an and appreciating the Qur’an. The more we explore it, the more we will be amazed. It will definitely blow our minds, subhanllah! And this is exactly why, he told us, he did the story night. WE REALLY NEED TO STUDY AND APPRECIATE THE QUR’AN.

At the end, he talked about his projects especially the Bayyinah tv. InshAllah I hope to write about his vision and what he will be doing for next couple of years in another post. In the meantime, please do try to subscribe to Bayyinah tv inshAllah. Trust me, you won't regret, bi'idnillah. May Allah Subhana wa ta'ala reward him for his great efforts, ameen!

Saturday 5th of January 2013

Alhamdulillah today I had plenty of time to listen to some good talks. May Allah subhana wa ta'ala give me the ability to follow the guidance, ameen!

IlmFest 2012 Toronto. Raising the Game by Shaykh Abu Eesa

Shaykh Reda Bedeir talks about Tawbah (Repentance). A must-watch inshAllah.

RISTalks: Professor Tariq Ramadan - "Changing the Present, Dreaming the Future"

Also came across some beautiful reminders from FaceBook :-)

"God does not look at your figures, nor at your outward appearance, but He looks at your hearts and deeds." Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him)

"The intelligent person is not one who merely knows what is good and what is bad. The intelligent person is one who, when he sees what is good, follows it, and when he sees evil, shuns it." Sufyan b. Uyaynah (rh)

"Do not worry over the schemes of others, for the most others can do to you is carry out what God has already written for you." Sheikh El-Shaarawy

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."