The Tajweed Trap

Let me pre-face this article with a dis-claimer…

“Yes, tajweed (correct Quran recitation) is an important skill; Yes, tajweed is an essential part of your journey through the Quran; And No, you absolutely should not stop your tajweed classes…”

Good, now that’s out of the way, let me let you in on a little-know ‘trap’ many of us get caught in when it comes to studying the Quran, and especially tajweed…

THE TAJWEED TRAP

This may sound familiar to you…

You want to understand what the Quran says so you can connect with Allah, and transform your life with the Quran, so….

You do the logical thing: try taking Arabic classes only to realise that you need to be able to read the Arabic script.

When you go to your masjid, Islamic centre or Arabic course the teacher tells you that the Quran is the highest level of Arabic, and in fact just by slightly mis-pronouncing a word or a letter, you can completely change the meaning of a verse (scary, but true!)

So, you follow their advice and decide to “learn tajweed correctly”, and start taking some tajweed classes.

That was 5 years ago. And you’re still in the tajweed class. And you still don’t understand a word of what you’re reciting… AND WORST OF ALL…

…the belief that Quranic Arabic takes a life-time to learn is getting stronger and stronger, whilst your resolve to do it is getting weaker and weaker.

Has this ever happened to you? Is this why you still don’t understand the Quran, even though you decided to years ago? And do you see what just happened there?

Originally the goal was to understand the Quran, but because you got ‘distracted’ with tajweed (an Islamic science which you could spend your whole life studying, like all Islamic sciences), you left your original goal.

The truth is, the original advice was correct, and incorrect at the same time. Here is…
How to reach the Tajweed Goal and avoid the TRAP

Yes, you absolutely MUST sort your tajweed out because you could be mis-pronouncing certain verses, and changing the meaning.

And No, this does not mean taking tajweed lessons for the rest of your life, and never studying Quranic Arabic.

((In fact, logically, if you knew what you were reciting and if you knew basic grammar, you would know automatically if a verse in the Quran has a major mistake in it… for example…

If you know a the subject from the object of the verb, and you know which should end in ‘aa’ versus ‘uu’, a mis-pronounciation that changes the meaning will stick out like a sore thumb!))

STEP 1: ACHIEVE THE BASIC TAJWEED GOAL

You need to set a tajweed goal from the beginning. It might be something like: “study tajweed to the point where I know I’m not sinning and changing the meaning when reciting the Quran.”

This would involve not mis-pronouncing letters, not stopping recitation in inappropriate places, among other requirements.

You can comfortably get to this level of tajweed with a competent teacher with just 30 hours of training. Find one in your local area, and go for it! You might do it each day for a month or two.

STEP 2: PUT TAJWEED ON AUTO-PILOT

At that point, you can give yourself permission to just “maintain” your level of tajweed, while you do the 30 or so hours of Arabic study required to understand the vast majority (70-80%) of the Quran in Arabic. Learn exactly how in our joint FOSIS webinar, here:

www.quranforbusypeople.com

STEP 3: IMMERSE YOURSELF IN 1 SMALL SECTION
OF THE QURAN EACH WEEK

Once you’ve done that, you can use the “Quran For Busy People” system to study small section of the Quran each day, from the beginning, picking out the few words (the infamous other 20-30%) of vocab, learning them, and reading that section with understanding.

(This system is also covered briefly in this webinar: www.quranforbusypeople.com )

And finally, at the end of the week, you could visit a tajweed teacher, and review the material you covered in the last week, checking your tajweed is correct.

Using this simple 3 step method, you won’t go over-the-top in one Quran goal, while completely neglecting another.

(And if your curious about “tafseer”, (understanding the Quran in depth) and memorisation, that comes a little later!)

If you found any benefit in this article, forward it on to your friends, family & other Quran fans!

If someone sent this to you, and you want the full scoop on getting great Quran tips, techniques and study methods, (as well as the quickest, easiest way
to understand the entire Quran in Arabic!), visit www.quranforbusypeople.com

How To Work With A Quran Study Buddy

Creating an empowering environment is a crucial element if you seriously want to achieve your Quran goals. The norm in your life is probably dis-empowering. It’s much easier to tell yourself “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “this is too hard”, than it is to be positive all the time.

I always have clients who set big, bold goals for themselves, and then go out and find the most cynical, negative, condescending member of their immediate family and tell them all about the new goal. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happens next.

If you actually want to achieve your goals, it is a good idea to tell people about the goal… BUT… you need to find the right people to tell. Guess where you can find the right kind of people… right here! Only a certain type of person joins the Quran For Busy People community – people who are busy, and who are serious about achieving their Quran goals anyway. Wouldn’t you love to help your sisters and brothers to achieve their goals, and increase the likelihood of you doing it yourself, too?

Part of the reason Quran Coaching is so powerful, and gets real results is that I give people total support to achieve their Quran goals. The problem is, I can’t coach everyone! So, even though you’re not professionals in this area, why not coach each other, or at least be ‘study buddies’ so you can keep yourself accountable to a partner, and do them the same favour?

Below is a very simple process you can follow if you want to optimize your environment to improve your chances of Quran success…

1. Go here if you haven’t already, sign up here:www.quranforbusypeople.com and you’ll get access to a webinar showing you how to study the Basic Quranic Arabic Course, online and for free.

2. Go to the QFBP FaceBook wall:  www.facebook.com/quranforbusypeople  and see if anyone has posted “I want a Basic Course Study Buddy” and comment on their posts. If there don’t seem to be any, write that in your own post, and see if anyone comments. Become ‘friends’ with anyone who expresses interest in working with you.

3. When you become FB friends, either private message each other or skype/email each other every day, to tell your partner:

a) what action you took today – and whether you took action or not. (It doesn’t matter whether you actually took the action, what matters is that you own up and email every day!)

b) what action you plan to take tomorrow – eg. how many classes/what time/ when you’ll fit it in etc.

c) If your partner is consistently not taking action, give them some words of encouragement if you can – even if you don’t, just being there for them to message each day is enough in and of itself.

Give it a go, and you’ll start to achieve Quran success immediately, insha’Allah.

If you like this, ‘share’ it with your friends. Did one of your friends just share this with you? To get the scoop on achieving your Quran goals, and to get access to free webinars and articles, and learn exactly how to understand the entire Quran in Arabic in a few minutes per day, for free, go to www.quranforbusypeople.com

Self-Esteem Versus Arrogance

SELF – ESTEEM VERSUS ARROGANCE

“God does not love the arrogant and boasting ones” [Quran 31:18]

In western psychology ‘self-esteem’ refers to the esteem you give to yourself. It is a measure of how much you like and value yourself. In other words, it is a measure of the extent to which you live by your own personal values. When you do not act in accordance to your values, you like yourself less, and your self-esteem goes down. When you ‘beat yourself up’ for not acting in accordance to your values, rather than learning from your mistakes and moving on (the Islamic approach to forgiveness), your self – esteem goes down even further and you continue to violate your values and sin.

Low self esteem results in not living according to your values, usually as a result of what you think other people will think of you. For example, not giving your honest opinion when it’s required, because you’re afraid of what others may think. Not having the courage to make a sales call due to fear of rejection rooted in valuing their opinion of you over your opinion of yourself. Wearing, or not wearing hijab, not because of what feels right inside, but because of what other people will think of you.

The truth is nobody knows you better than you do – not even your loved ones. Nobody cares about you more than you do, either. If you die, they’ll morn your loss, but you’ll live eternally with the consequences of your actions.

The hypnosis of Muslim culture encourages us to think that having a high opinion of yourself is a ‘bad thing’ because it could lead to arrogance. Nothing could be further from the truth. Having a low opinion of yourself leads to arrogance.

If your opinion of yourself is lower, your inner confidence is diminished and you always need to prove a point to others (and yourself) by unconsciously competing.  This leads to you ‘looking down on people and denying people their rights’ – the Prophet’s definition of arrogance (pbuh).

If you have a high opinion of yourself in areas where you are good, and a low opinion in areas where you struggle, you are closer to the truth of your situation.  This honesty and self-acceptance is the starting point of personal growth.

The problem in your personal development comes when you use patterns of language that put yourself down, and then actually convince yourself that this is a good thing because you are ‘being humble’.  These negative language patterns like “I’m such a loser; I’m so lazy” etc, are not humility they are self-humiliation. They are lies, which become limiting beliefs, which ultimately prevent your success. And they are forbidden. This is why the Prophet (pbuh) said “A believer never humiliates himself”.

Muslim spiritual writings on arrogance as a root disease of the heart, always balance not being boastful and arrogant with not looking down on yourself either. We tend to overlook the second part.  In reality, if you look down on yourself (have low self esteem), you lose your personal dignity (‘izza) which may result in you lashing out in a boastful manner when you get the chance.

To make matters worse, if your self esteem is low the chances are you could even be indulging in a sly form of shirk – valuing others opinions of you affects your behaviour drastically. The only real opinion we should care about is Allah’s opinion. If you let others dictate what you think about yourself, and therefore what you do, this may be a form of ‘riyah’.

This dua will help: Allahuma inna na’uthu bika min an nushrika bika shayan na’alamu wa nastaghfiruka li ma la na’alamu.

Allah, we seek refuge in you from associating partners with you knowingly, and seek your forgiveness from what we don’t know (doing it unknowingly).

The best of examples, our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said quite frankly “I am the best among you, and this is not arrogance’. It’s not arrogance because it’s a fact. He told us, because it’s important for us to know his status, and we can learn from his statement that when you have deep inner confidence and self esteem like he did, there is no arrogance.

Visit http://www.quranforbusypeople.com for more personal development insights that come from the Quran and Sunnah, and to discover the quickest, easiest, most effective way to understand the entire Quran in Arabic in a just a few minutes per day. You’ll get loads more great articles, free webinars, videos and much, much more.

7 Ways To Purify Your Intention And Improve Quran Reading

To get maximum benefit for the time you spend with the Quran, your inner self needs to fully participate. To help you do this, print off the following 7 affirmations and use them as your Quran book-mark. Insha’Allah, within a few days, you will remember these points automatically, and the book mark will serve as an excellent reminder to  increase your consciousness of Allah during your reading.

Say them to yourself just before you start reading, and it will transform the whole experience, insha’Allah.

1. My Qur’an reading will be true tilawah if my inner self participates in it as Allah desires it to

2. I am in Allah’s presence; He is seeing me.

3. I am hearing from Allah.

4. Allah addresses me directly, through His Messenger, when I read the Qur’an.

5. Every word in this Qur’an is meant for me.

6. I am conversing with Allah when I read the Qur’an.

7. Allah will surely give me all the rewards He has promised me through His Messenger for reading and following the Qur’an.

For an in-depth explanation of each one, and their basis in the Quran and Sunnah, read ‘Way To The Quran’ by Khuram Murad. You can read it online here: http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Books/KM_W2Q/index.htm

Spiritual Presence In Surah Al-Asr

“In the name of God, Lord of Mercy, Giver of Mercy. By time, man is at a loss, except for those who believe, take righteous action, urge one another to truth, and urge one another to steadfastness”

 

Most of us have heard this surah hundreds of times. It is one of the last 14 surahs of the Quran, known as the ‘oft-repeated’ surahs.  This morning as fajr entered, I had an epiphany as I reflected on this verse. As I share it with you, take what is of benefit, and leave what is not. I pray this will bring you closer to the ‘truth’.

 

This short surah teaches humanity four of the most important values we need to inculcate to improve ourselves: belief, action, truth, and steadfastness.

 

I want to draw your attention to the last of these values and connect it to the theme of the surah – time. I believe if you take the approach I’m about to share with you seriously, you will experience far more ‘sabr’ (steadfastness) in your life immediately, and with practise the quality of your life will dramatically improve.

 

PRESENT MOMENT AWARENESS IMPROVES ‘STEADFASTNESS’

 

Most people spend their whole lives either living in the past, or fantasising about the future. People who re-live positive past memories, and imagine positive future outcomes feel good about themselves and perform better day to day. People who re-live negative memories and imagine a future they’re fearful of tend to feel worse about themselves and perform poorly on a day to day basis.

 

However, there are a few people who transcend these patterns altogether, and they are the closest to Allah. Rather than imagining the past or fantasising about the future, they are fully aware in the present moment. In the present moment, there is no pain. Pain only exists when we imagine painful past experiences or fear negative future experiences.

 

I believe this is what Surah al-Asr encourages us to do: believe, take good action, be truthful & be steadfast. All of this becomes possible when we are aware of the fleeting nature of time. Instead of fantasising about the future or the past, be completely attuned to right now. That is the secret to sabr (steadfastness/patience).

 

There are many types of sabr, and all types are improved and easier to follow when we stop the stream of consciousness that distracts our awareness and has us ‘daydreaming’. ‘Sabr’ exists in many forms, and pervades all areas of life. When you are in the gym trying to do the last repetition of lifting that heavy weight – sabr is what keeps you going until you reach momentary muscle failure. Lack of sabr would result in no real physical muscle growth. When you are studying for your finals – sabr keeps you persevering in your studies, instead of giving up.

 

Sabr can be both ‘patience’, or ‘perseverance’. It’s not just the kind of patience you need when you’re sitting in the waiting lounge of a hospital. It’s also the kind of perseverance you need to keep going when all around you have given up. It’s like pushing a car with a broken engine up a hill to get it to the garage where it can be fixed. It requires that you exert consistent effort without quitting.

 

So, what does ‘sabr’ have to do with ‘time’?

 

Our stream of conscious thought is almost always about the past or the future. Both past and future are merely projections of our imagination. Neither really exist, except in our minds. The only time that really exists is right now – and most of us are wasting this moment by thinking about other moments in the past or the future. The ironic thing is that when those imagined moments come to pass, we will miss them because our minds will be focused on the imagined future and past of that moment!

 

The problem with constantly thinking about the past and future is that it makes practising ‘sabr’ somewhere between difficult and impossible. Let’s use the example of sabr when reciting Quran. This is one very common type of sabr we need to inculcate if we want to be deserving of Paradise.

 

Let’s imagine it’s Ramadan and you aim to recite one juz/para of the Quran. If your mind is thinking about how long is left until you can finish it and get back to life, or counting how many pages you’ve already read, then you are not focused on the present moment. When this happens, Quran recitation becomes hard. It’s like waiting for paint to dry.  The truth is, most of the thoughts that pass through your mind during this type of worship are probably not even connected to the Quran at all.

 

Your stream of thought is probably more like “oh yeah, I should have made that money transfer – oh well, I’ll do it tomorrow…. And I need to pick up some vegetables on the way home because we have guests coming over tonight… I have a mild disliking for that guest ever since the time that…” and so on. Sometimes we get fixated on one particular memory, thinking about how we could have acted differently, or wishing we could change it.

 

However, if you switch off your stream of thought, and just ‘be’ in salah, or when reading the Quran, suddenly it’s easy. When you’re focused on being aware and present in this moment, it doesn’t really matter how long the prayer goes on for or how many pages you have left to read. It could go on forever, and you’d be fine as long as in every moment of ‘forever’, you were only aware of that moment.

 

How do you improve your present moment awareness, and therefore your ‘sabr’? Enter a state of no-mind. Be aware, and be free from thought altogether. Notice that there can be a gap between you being aware, and you ‘thinking’. If you catch yourself ‘thinking’ during Quran recitation or prayer, notice yourself thinking and return to the present moment. Then, when the Quran is recited, listen intently and it will affect you deeply.

 

As Muslims, our spirituality is not separate from our daily lives. The practise of sabr pervades all areas of life, not just worship. And so should your practise of being aware of the present moment. The more you do it, the better you get at it. It’s virtually impossible to be aware of this moment, without being overwhelmed by awe of the Majesty of Allah in all that is around you. You won’t even need to ‘think’ about it – you’ll just experience it.

 

6 Essential Ramadan Resources

Ramadan Kareem! To welcome in this blessed month and
help you get the best out of yourself and
the most out of your Quran studies…
Here are 6 essential Ramadan resources:
WARNING: Do Not Use All 6 Tools This
Ramadan(Unless you have a LOT of free time)

Choose your goals carefully.

Here they are…

1. To complete the Quran in English & Arabic,
with basic commentary, use this:

http://www.alhudapk.com/audio-video/fahm-alquran-english/default.asp

(highly recommended if you’ve never read
it in English before – 2 hrs per day)

—————————————————————————–

2. To complete the Quran in Arabic, follow
along with professional reciters here:

http://www.mp3quran.net/eng/

You can choose reciters by name. My
personal favourite right now is Shaykh Abu
Bakr Ash-Shatri:

http://mp3quran.net/eng/shatri_english.html

It’s beautiful to listen to and he goes at
a reasonable pace, so you’ll get through
1 Juz in well under 1 hour each day.

—————————————————————————

3. If you want to understand 70% of the
Quran in Arabic by the end of Ramadan,
use this:

http://www.understandquran.com/courses/basic-course/english.html

Time: 1 hour per day

———————————————————————————————

4. The best English Translation
available now comes with
parallel Arabic text):

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Quran-English-translation-parallel-Arabic/dp/019957071X

It’s the standard Uthmani script to help
you organize your reading Juz by Juz.

Time: 45mins per day

———————————————————————————————————

5. Journey Through The Quran Video

www.iidr.org/jtq

This video taught by classical scholar and Oxford

professor Shaykh Akram Nadawi will seriously get

you in the mood for studying the Quran this Ramadan

– check it out!

—————————————————————————————————————-

6. Tafsir Resources

If you’ve decided that this Ramadan you want to focus

your effort in the Quran on Tafsir, rather than an

overview reading, I recommend these 2 resources.

-> Al Huda Tafsir Course:

http://www.alhudapk.com/audio-video/taleem-al-quran-eng/default1.asp

-> Bayyinah Tafsir Podcast:

http://bayyinah.com/podcast/

I’d recommend you start today with the Al-Huda course, Juz 2, Lesson 6.

You’ll see why ;o)

I pray you have the best Ramadan of your
life so far. May Allah bless you and guide you
& give you infinite blessings from your thoughts,
words, and actions this Ramadan.

From the bottom of my heart…

Ramadan Kareem & Warmest Salams,

Mamoon Yusaf
Quran Coach

29 Days To Go…

29 Days before Ramadan starts… here’s a tip to get you in the mood:

-> Read one page of the Quran with each Salah. By the end of the week you’ll have read just under 2 juz & more importantly, you’ll get your eyes used to reading, and it’ll soften your heart up a bit before the Great Month begins!

-> If that’s too easy for you, read 2 pages with each Salah. That’s half a juz per day, and it feels like it didn’t take up any time!

-> If it’s too hard for you, do this: read 1 page with each Salah – but make it the SAME PAGE. By Isha time, you’ll find it very easy to read the page, as compared with your first attempt at Fajr :o)

Free Gift To Use During Ramadan

Salams,

I’ve been away for a little while, but I’m back with another gift…

If you’ve never read the Quran in English, or you want to boost your understanding and get a decent overview of the Quran
this Ramadan, you’ll love this resource:

http://www.alhudapk.com/audio-video/fahm-alquran-english/default.asp

It’s a web page with a recording of Amina Elahi going through the Quran one ‘spara’ at a time.

You could do a 20-30 minute session each day on your way to work, and get through 1 juz every 4 days….

Or, you could go hard-core during Ramadan and do 2 hours of audio (1 juz) each day.

My advice is to get started now, and you’ll be certain to complete it during the Blessed Month.

Imam Al-Ghazali’s 5 Hidden Secrets Of The Quran

Courtesy of Imam Suhaib Webb:
http://www.suhaibwebb.com/islam-studies/hidden-secrets-of-the-quran/ 

The Prophet ﷺ said: “There is no intercessor of higher status with Allah on the Day of Judgment than the Qur’an—neither a prophet nor a king nor [any] other.”

Know that there are external manners and internal, hidden secrets to reading the Qur’an. As for the hidden secrets, they are five:

FIRSTLY:

that you sense, at the beginning of your reading, the greatness of the words by sensing the greatness of the speaker. You do this by feeling in your heart the presence of The Throne and His Dominion, the heavens and the earth, and all that is in between them of Jinn, humans, animals and plants; and that you remember that the Creator of all of them is One, and that they are all within His Grasp and Power, experiencing His Favors and Compassion; you feel that you want to read His words and see through them His Attributes, His Beauty, His Knowledge and His Wisdom.

Know that just as the Qur’an can only be touched by those who have purified themselves—while being veiled from the rest—its true meaning and secrets are also veiled from the hearts if they are vile and impure.

SECONDLY:

that you contemplate its meanings while reading, if you [want to be] of the people of the Qur’an. Repeat all that your tongue has recited unmindfully; don’t count mindless reading as part of your good deeds because the purpose of beautiful recitation is to increase contemplation. Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “There is no goodness in an act of worship that is void of understanding, nor in recitation that lacks contemplation.”[i]

THIRDLY:

that you reap the fruits of knowledge from their branches and seek them from their abodes, as you contemplate; don’t seek the antidote from where you seek the gems, nor the gems from where you see the musk and [fragrance], for every fruit has its own branch and every gem its own source. 

This is facilitated by knowing the ten categories we have sorted the Qur’an into. Of these ten, are the following:

That of the Qur’an which relates to Allah (Glory be to Him), His Attributes and Actions; seek from it the knowledge of greatness and magnificence.
That which relates to guidance to the Straight Path; seek from it knowledge of mercy, compassion and wisdom.
That which relates to the destruction of enemies; seek from it knowledge of honor and might, conquest and overpowerment.
That which relates to the lives of the prophets; seek from it knowledge of kindness and blessings, favors and generosity.
So, for each category, seek from it that which is most befitting…

FOURTHLY:

that you avoid whatever inhibits your understanding, because that is the covering that prevents you from understanding. Allah (glory be to Him) says “…Indeed, We have placed over their hearts coverings, lest they understand it, and in their ears deafness…” [18:54]. The God-conscious seeker of truth is tested with one of two kinds of coverings: either the veils of doubt and denial that test those who are weak in faith, or the veils of heart-saturating desires that test the ones engrossed in the life of this world.

As for the worshippers who are solely focused on the Way of Allah, they [struggle] with two other kinds of veils.

The first is the whispering which diverts the heart from thinking about one’s intention. How was it at the beginning? Is it still there now? Is there still sincerity now? That is if he were in prayer. Another type of whispering is that which diverts your focus to correct the pronunciation of the letters, which leads to doubt and repetition. This happens in prayer and outside of it [as well]. How can the secrets of the Kingdom be seen by a heart that is focused [only] on how the lips open and close, and how the tongue and jaws move, and how air passes through them?

The second kind of veil the worshipper faces is limiting oneself to the apparent meanings of the Qur’an. This truly inhibits understanding… [because] the truth that Allah has ordered His servants to believe in is of degrees; it has both an apparent meaning (like an outer skin) and a deep internal meaning, which is like the marrow.

For example, [Allah] has ordered His creation to believe that He can be seen; however, seeing has an external and internal [meaning]. If one believes that seeing Allah is similar to the seeing humans are accustomed to in this world, how can he expect to know the secret of Allah’s saying “You will not see Me…” [Qura’n, 7:143]?! And how will he understand that that is impossible in this life with this eye that is limited to seeing directions and sides?! And how will he understand His saying: “Vision perceives Him not” [Qura’n, 6:103] side-by-side with His saying: “[Some] faces, that Day, will be radiant. Looking at their Lord” [Qur’an, 75:22-23]?!

FIFTHLY:

that you do not limit yourself to capturing the lights [of the Qur’an], but also glean the appropriate conditions and effects. So, don’t read a verse except that you become adorned with its characteristics. That way, you will have a certain understanding and overall state for every verse you read. So, when mercy and the promise of forgiveness are mentioned, you become elated with happiness; when anger and harsh punishment are mentioned, you cringe and become overtaken with fear; at the mention of Allah (Glory be to Him), His Names and His Greatness, you lower your head and feel miniscule—as if you’re vanishing from witnessing His Glory; at the mention of the disbelievers, and Allah’s Exaltedness above having a son and spouse, you bow your head and lower your voice, as if hiding from shame…

These effects should also show on your limbs, as with crying out of sadness, sweating at the forehead from shame, shuddering and shivering in awe of His Glory, and feeling joy in the limbs, tongue and voice when given glad tidings, and feeling fear in them [when being warned].

If you do that, all your parts take part in receiving the barakah (blessings) of the Qura’n.

(Excerpts from Kitāb al-Arba`īn fī Usūl al-Dīn (The Book of Forty Principles of the Religion) by Imam Abu Ḥamid al-Ghazali)

How To Improve Recitation Fluency

In this article you’re about to learn the quickest, most effective ways to increase your fluency in reading the Quran in Arabic. This is just one simple method that I covered in the Time For Quran program, which you can now get hold Of here: http://www.quranforbusypeople.com/timeforquran

By following the methods I’m about to share, over time you’ll go from stuttering and stammering over simple words to reciting any page of the Quran as easily as you can recite Surah al-Fatiha. But first, let me tell you about the time I realized I seriously needed to improve my recitation fluency.

I was at an Islamic event with quite a well-known scholar…

When I Realized My Recitation Needed Work 

Back in my university days I was often involved in organizing events and activities for Muslim students. In fact, before long people saw me as the ‘I-Soc guy’ because of my activities in university Islamic Societies…. I was busy organizing the event with the big scholar, running around and looking important, when it came to my attention that the hafiz we had asked to do the recitation for the beginning of the event had gone AWOL.

(Can you see where this is going…?)

My mind immediately ran down a mental list of people on our team who might be able to step in. As I looked around the room, none of them were there. I started looking around the room frantically now, for anyone who could step in – even people who had nothing to do with the I-Soc. I even asked a couple of random people, but they were like “No, my recitation sucks – why don’t you do it?” They were about to find out why I didn’t want to do it!

When I completely ran out of options, I stepped up. First I thought of reciting something I knew off by heart, but I had only memorized a few of the really short Surahs at the end of the Quran, and reciting them almost seemed like it would be cheating. Fortunately, I had been working on Surah Yasin, and listened to it a few times recently, so I thought I’d give it a go….

believe me when I say, I had never been so relieved to STOP reciting the Quran. I’m usually a cool customer on stage, but this time I was practically sweating. I was stuttering and stammering all over the place. I almost tripped up on the letters ‘ya-seen’.

When it was over, the scholar leaned over and said “you know, you really should read the Quran more”. How embarrassing is that?! By that time he was preaching to the converted. My mission was clear: I had to sort my recitation out… and after much trial and error, here’s how to do it.

5 Ways To Improve Your Fluency

1. Ancient Thai Saying

The ancient Thai people, now famous for their Muay Thai Kick Boxing style had a saying. “If you want to be a good kicker… kick!” The same holds true of your goal of improving you Quran recitation. Follow the first advice ever given to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) by his Educator… “Recite!”. Recite as much as you can, as frequently as you can. Nothing can replace this discipline. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Before you know it, you’ll be reading an unfamiliar page in the same amount of time it used to take you to read a couple of lines.

2. Link New Habit With Old Habit

This is without doubt the single most effective way to build a new habit. You need to link the habit of reciting the Quran in Arabic with something you already do every single day without fail. Something like brushing your teeth, or putting your clothes on in the morning. Or how about, linking it with one (or more) of your 5 daily prayers? That way, you’re already in a state of wudu, so one of the main psychological barriers is out of the way. If you’re going to do this, I’d advise that you do it with a prayer you have been doing consistently over the last few weeks. I’d also recommend you don’t do it if you think you’ll be stressed. For example, if you’re at work, and are taking three 10 minute breaks for prayer during the day, turning them into three 15 minute breaks might not make your boss too happy.

Right now, make the commitment to recite a small amount of Quran every single day for the next 30 days after the selected prayer.

3. Intelligent Repetition – The Mother Of All Skill.

Here is a trick that will double or triple your effectiveness and speed at reading the Quran. Let’s say you’ve decided to recite two pages of the Quran after Isha every night and 2 pages before you leave for work in the morning. Instead of reciting the first 2 pages on day one morning and the next 2 pages on day one night, try this out. On day one morning, recite page 1, then recite page 1 again. Then on day one evening, recite page 1 again, and again. “But then I’ll only have done one page?!” I hear you exclaiming.

That’s true, but you’ll have done that page four times, and what’s more important, is that by the 4th recitation, you will read it about 3 or 4 times quicker that on your first attempt. Aim for reading the page 5 times each day. The next day, you can move on to page 2, and so on. At the end of the week, you might like to do one marathon session of going through all 7 pages you covered that week. You may even want to do this with a tajweed teacher, who’ll correct your recitation. You’ll notice that by he end of the week, you can still recite page 1 about 2 or 3 times faster and more fluently than on your 1st attempt.

600 days later you will have completed the Quran 6 times. “Eat your heart out, Maulvi Saab!” If you recite the page 5 times each day, and once at the end of the week, it’s the equivalent of completing the Quran once every 100 days – just over 3 months. That’s like reading 4 Qurans a year – but who’s keeping count ;o)

4. Learn Some Vocabulary

In previous emails, I shared with you the quickest, easiest, most effective way to understand the entire Quran in Arabic. If you want to get hold of the audio download where I explain how to do it, visit www.quranforbusypeople.com The key to the whole process of understanding the Quran is to learn Quranic vocabulary lists. If you learn around 300 words, that accounts for about 70% of the entire Quran.

But you need to learn the right words.

This links in with your recitation because when you know these commonly occuring words, you’ll spot them as you recite, and something magical will happen…. Just as you do in english, you will unconsciously read the first and lsat lteters in the wrod adn wrok out waht the wrod syas, without having to read each letter phonetically (cool eh?). In other words, just by being able to recognize the common words, your recitation speed will increase exponentially.

HOWEVER, this does not replace numbers 1,2 & 3. DO NOT wait until you know all of Quranic Arabic, before you start reciting the Quran. This is a common mistake and it is a waste of time. You can know all 300 words, but if you never recite the Quran, you will still be a slow reciter. If you do manage to learn 5-10 words a day for 1 month, whilst still doing your daily recitations, you’ll know 70% of Quranic vocabulary in a month or two. This will give you a huge boost in motivation, and momentum.

5. Get Your iPod Out.

If you are still struggling, the iPod technique will propel you forward. Get an online recitation from a famous reciter, whose voice you love. Listen to the recitation, one page at a time, as you read along the script with your finger. Even if the reciter goes way too fast for you to start with, just finger along the page. Then, rewind back to where the page started, and do it again, and again.

Because the reciter goes much faster than you, you can go over the same page several times in one sitting. Eventually, you will be able to follow with your eyes, and then your lips and tongue.

So, here’s a quick review of the 5 ways to improve your recitation:

1. Practise Quran like a Martial Artist Practices Kicks.

2. Read 1 page of the Quran immediately after a prayer.

3. Repeat the same page several times before moving on.

4. Learn 5 words of Quran vocab per day for 2 months.

5. Get your iPod out and read along with a reciter.

To get a deeper understanding of this topic and many more Strategies, check out the recently released Time For Quran Program here: www.quranforbusypeople.com/timeforquran

If you found any benefit in this article, by all means email it forward to your family and friends to spread the blessings. You never know which tip will transform which person’s life through the Quran. Did someone forward this article to you? You can get loads more good stuff, including a video showing you the quickest, easiest way to understand the entire Quran in Arabic for free, right here: www.quranforbusypeople.com