By Jessica Deqamsseh
The faithful continue taraweeh as I exit through the stairwell. A huddled mass of mother and child converge where the light recedes, a blurry confection of step and floor. The woman gently weeps, engrossed in her solitude. My inquiry of well-being catches her off-guard. “Yes, sister, I am ok.” A tranquil, tearful face beseeches mine and I know I was mistaken. The mother and child are shrouded in the awe-inspiring, benevolent grace of Divine revelation. These tears are jubilant, not mourning. “What can move them so?,” I reflect as I continue my procession, distraught in my own inability to comprehend and commune with the recitation’s ethereal quality.
For too many, the Qur’an remains an elusive book. A foreign terrain without a guide, too complex and misunderstood to independently navigate. Mastery of Qur’anic Arabic, a deep study of hadith and tafsir, complete with a learned scholar are often touted as necessary to developing a personal relationship with the Book of Allah. Especially for converts, this pathway is too often presented as the only route to befriending our beloved book. An honourable path, but perhaps somewhat inaccessible to the masses.
Back to that warm Ramadan night, with mother and child transported by Divine revelation. I meander to my car in solitude, pondering, What keeps me from weeping? What secret has this woman unlocked that alludes me? Unfortunately, our paths never crossed again, leaving my insatiable wondering unresolved. For years, I have sought an answer. What barrier restricts my connection to Qur’an? Upon conversion, I pursued many avenues of knowledge, even throwing myself into Arabic studies. I signed up for every recommended website, watched and listened to countless scholars telling me about the beauty of Qur’an, and strove to memorize as many ayaat and surahs as possible.
Despite these endeavours, the disconnect persisted. The Qur’an didn’t make me weep. Not once was I overcome with emotion over the infinite wisdom, mercy and love bound between its pages. The Qur’an was a goal I had; something I could check off as completed and conquered. It was a badge of honour, a contest of sorts–somewhat self-imposed but also encouraged by Muslims around me.
It was time to renew my intention. The Qur’an could be the most reliable lifelong companion, if one nurtured the relationship like a young mother does her firstborn. Once passing the period of novelty, a steady routine of care forms, creating a natural warmth and affection between the pair. The baby effortlessly entrusts itself to its mother, adequately secure and loved. Like a young mother’s love, the Qur’an effortlessly nurtures our minds, bodies and souls. We need only to surrender ourselves to its care.
Reconnecting to the Qur’an
With new beginnings, we re-evaluate our intentions and re-invigorate dormant passions blossoming anew into a more complete version of self. Our intended relationship with the Qur’an should be internally evaluated. What kind of relationship do I want with the Qur’an? Is it an acquaintance or a dear friend? Once our intentions are set, the path to mindfulness, self-love, compassion, and forgiveness opens to us.
…Bismillah ar-Rahman ir-Rahmin … we begin our journey through dunya with our eyes turned to Jannah.
Abu Umamah (May Allah be Pleased with Him) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) saying, “Read the Qur’an, for it will come as an intercessor for its reciters on the Day of Resurrection.” [Muslim]
Enshrined in numerous ayat and ahadith, our Lord commands us to read the Qur’an. It’s not meant to collect dust on our shelves only finding use during Ramadan. It’s a protection, a blessing bestowed upon us from Allah subhana wa ta’ala, which keeps us on the straight path to our ultimate destination–Jannah.
Before becoming overwhelmed, let’s establish an attainable and mindful practice.
For non-Arabic readers, it’s important to select a Qur’an with an accompanying translation. Personally, I found learning Arabic alphabet and some basic tajweed to be extremely important. Some transliterations can be confusing and led me to improper pronunciation. However, do not feel like perfect Arabic pronunciation and a deep understanding of the language is necessary to beginning your Qur’an journey. These are resources which have benefited me: Qaida Noorania with sound, quran.com, and Tajweed Qur’an with English Translation.
Next, establish your practice. What day/time and level of frequency works for you? With pure intentions, Allah subhana wa ta’ala can make a clear path for establishing your practice. Make the Qur’an the light which greets you at dawn and the blanket which covers you upon slumber.
Narrated Aisha: The Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) said, “Such a person as recites the Qur’an and masters it by heart, will be with the noble righteous scribes (in Heaven). And a person who exerts himself to learn the Qur’an by heart, and recites it with great difficulty, will have a double reward.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
The Qur’an is a healing for mind, body and soul. Recite it often and aloud. There is a noble reward in its recitation. We are encouraged to not shy away from learning and reciting Qur’an- even if it’s a struggle for us.
Listen to recitations performed by others to both beautify one’s own, and to increase your imaan (faith). Reflect on its majesty while renewing your connection to your Lord.
It was narrated from Ibn Umar that: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “The one who learns the Quran is like the owner of a hobbled camel. If he pays attention to it, he will keep it, but if he releases it, it will go away.” (https://sunnah.com/nasai/11/67)
Once you establish your connection, continue to nurture it with recitation and knowledge seeking. Take the time to memorize more ayaat and surahs. Perhaps, you develop a goal chart or join a group to encourage your journey. It’s important to balance reading and recitation with knowledge seeking. Learned individuals are honourable companions, but an individual pursuit of knowledge should also be established. Don’t shy away from exploring authentic ahadith, tafsir and other areas of knowledge independently. The Qur’an is a dialogue between our Lord and the faithful, it’s time you joined the conversation.
Recall the woman and child overcome with the beauty of Divine revelation; know this connection is accessible to all who seek it…
Bismillah ar-Rahman ir-Rahim … we begin our journey through dunya with our eyes turned to Jannah.
About the author:
Jessica is a writer and school teacher living in the United States. She converted to Islam nearly 7 years ago. She enjoys spreading the Islamic message of compassion, love and mercy through her writing.