Archive for January 18th, 2012

Overcoming Hubut (esp. for memorizers of Qur’an)

Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullah
Dear Friends,

I pray that you are all progressing well with your hifdh – whether it be review or the memorisation of new verses, mashaAllah.
This week, I’m pleased to share with you all an article written on a topic close to the heart of every hifdh student and teacher: It’s about issues regarding the mental block one experiences during the hifdh journey.
Alhamdulillah, one of the best write-ups on the topic thus far – comprehensive, practical and indeed, very insightful!

May your days be blessed with devotion & love for al Qur’aan!


by Sister Fajr (may Allah preserve her)

Hubut (هبوط)

This Qur’an, as much as it is the Gift of Allah which He gives to whom He wishes, it is also the test of Allah for many of us. If we’ve made a sincere decision to memorise the Qur’an, this Book which took 23 years to come down to Earth… we also need to realize that it’s not really going to be one simple, easy, straightforward road from the moment of ‘Azm (resolve) to the day of khatm (completion). It is the case that we’ll face many obstacles on the way, and one obstacle which is not always spoken about is a particular one which I call: Hubut – هبوط (an Arabic term meaning ‘diminution, lack of motivation, laxity, mental blocks, laziness, weakness, slackness’ – you get the idea)

In the course of your Hifdh, watch out for the ‘Hubut’ moments. Those days when you can’t seem to memorise anything, you have a mental block & your motivation feels like it’s just faced the firing squad. Yep, you know what I’m talking about… it’s a strange phenomenon faced by everyone but for the student memorizing Qur’an these ‘down moments’ are public enemy no.1, they can really mess you up and throw you off-course if you don’t know how to deal with them. Some students face major moments of ‘futur’ (laxity) and as a result; they abandon memorisation entirely and never reach their goal of Hifdh al-Qur’an (even though they have memorised over half the Qur’an done). Yeah, it happens.

It’s a frustrating period of time which makes a person sad, disheartened and feel like they’ll never achieve anything. So the one who used to memorise 2 pages a day is reduced to memorizing only a few verses, the one who used to wake up earlier than crows finds himself in hibernation and the one who used to make time for Hifdh despite his busy schedule can no longer be bothered with things.

So why does it happen and when does it happen?

Well, I guess that’s one for the psychologists to answer but in general, these moments can occur randomly and for different reasons. As a student you’ll have always been told to steer clear of sins (the wise advice of Wakee’) and this is because sins bring about these moments of hubut faster and more frequently than anything else – and once you begin to suffer from it, it creates the perfect atmosphere for one to abandon and forget the Qur’an. It’s a major tool of Shaytan which he uses to mislead the slaves of Allah from becoming constant in good deeds (watch him enter hubut into all your ‘ibadat). But sometimes in a person’s attempts of avoiding sin, they fall into the other ‘less known’ causes of hubut:

Work overload
Long periods of not listening to or reciting Qur’an
Emotions running high or low/emotional instability (such as anger, over-excitement, depression, mood-swings, giddiness etc).
Thinking too much
Eating/sleeping too much
Not finding a companion to work with or a teacher to assist you
Too much empty time
Receiving too much criticism from others

For sisters, you may notice hubut near the times of your menstrual cycle and hence you face mental blocks either before, during or after your period.

So what do we do?

Good question, my friend!

But a better question is: ‘What would you do if you were on your way somewhere important and something blocked your road?’ Or ‘What if you were going home from university or work but as you come to the tube station, the Underground folks tell you that the Northern Line has been suspended’ (doesn’t that always happen?) and your route home has now been affected. What do you do?

Your answers would probably include things like:

– Avoid the blockage

– Get around it or move it out of your way somehow

– Find a different route

– Wait a while for things to clear

– Don’t rely on London’s Transport! J

Please, Fajr… something more detailed?

Ok, ok…

· First thing first: When you’ve hit your moment of ‘hubut’, it’s important that you do not end up doing the dreaded, which is: stopping your Hifdh altogether. You can decrease your portion if necessary, but never halt it. Instead, to make up for things, try to increase your listening of Qur’an so have your Surah playing in your iPod or cassette player, around the house, in the car, on your way to work etc. If you are familiar with your hubut and know that it’ll only last a few hours or a day, then maybe take a break from Hifdh for that time period and do something different until your laxity passes by.

· If your moment of hubut is due to something physical (e.g. you’re tired, hungry, or stressed etc) then you need to satisfy this first and overcome it. So sleep well, eat well, relax, and maybe get a massage and do some stretches if your menstrual cycle has made you feel like a hippo stuck in mud lol.

· Stay away from anything which will lower your spirits or demotivate you – be it junk food (this is crime I say), loneliness, laziness, boredom, lack of support, friends/family who may criticize your efforts (be kind and patient with them but take a break as well) basically whatever does not float your boat and gets you down.

· Having some organisation in your life is like having salt and vinegar in your fish and chips. Really, it does wonders to be tidy, neat and organised – and it actually leads you to become more organised and focused at mind. With Hifdh of Qur’an, you need space. That means physical space (periods of solitude to contemplate and memorise) as well as giving yourself mental ‘space’ – if you overwhelm your brain with a hundred ‘things to-do’ and stick-it notes that are scattered in your mind, you just won’t find the focus, motivation or time for Hifdh.

. Routines are the best! You may enjoy living in the fast lane and being like a spontaneous person, but sometimes you need those ‘mundane’ routines in life. Think of them as ‘Thawabit’ – constants that hold you down whenever you feel like you’re about to fall off the road. If for example, you have a regular routine of coming home from work, showering, eating and then sitting down for half an hour to memorise half a page, then when you’re hit by hubut one day, you will naturally still be composed and find it easier to continue with that routine compared to someone who has no routine for their Hifdh – and were you to miss that daily half an hour of Hifdh, you will actually feel weird like something is missing! (Well, it is.)

· Stay active. Have workout sessions where you physically exercise your body, and depending on how fit you are, I would recommend doing rigorous exercise at least two or three times a week – it’ll make you more alert, creates a sense of passion/ambition in life, keeps things like depression, laziness and tiredness at bay and guess what? It’s a sharp sword against hubut and futur.

· Have a deadline, always. Set one deadline for overall Hifdh (e.g. by July 2010) and have another deadline for every commencing week and month etc. Make sure you write these deadlines in different places – on your work desk, in kitchen, as a reminder on your phone, or if you’re a typical Londoner have it engraved on the front of your oyster card! This way, whenever you are faced with hubut, you still have a focus and something to work towards, no matter what.

And the list goes on… Seriously, books can be written on this topic.

A point to note: If you look back at the pre-mentioned causes of hubut, you’ll notice a common factor… they are mainly causes which preoccupy and affect one’s heart. Hence, to avoid hubut, avoid anything which affects the healthy state of your heart, e.g. having too much attachment to this world.

Realise that through the course of memorising Qur’an you will be undergoing a form of training whereby you attain characteristics of a believer insha’Allah – e.g. firm and correct belief, patience, zuhd, gratitude, contemplation, determination, courage, humbleness, you gain good judgement, sound mind, kindness & ease in character (riqqa), and so on bi’ithnillah.

So it’s a training period to see you through life… and naturally any form of training will consist of testing moments or obstacles and hence hubut (as much as it’s an annoying and frustrating occurrence) it actually serves a purpose in the long run – so don’t be disheartened and definitely do not give up J

I ask Allah to keep us and our resolves firm. May He protect us from the downfalls and pitfalls upon this path. Amin

If you haven’t already, check out the Fee Qalbee blog!

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“I hope that no one will stand before his Lord in this way…”

“I hope that no one will stand before his Lord in this way…”.

Hammâd ibn Ziyâd narrated that Layth ibn Abî Burdah said: “I went to Madînah, where I met ‘Abdullâh ibn Salâm, who said to me: ‘Would you like to visit a place visited by the Prophet (SAAS), and we will offer you sâwiq and dates?…’ Then he said:

‘When Allâh gathers people on the Day of Judgement, He will remind them of His blessings.

One of His slaves will say: “Remind me of something,” and Allâh will say:

“Remember when you faced such-and-such adversity, and you prayed to Me so I relieved you of it.

Remember when you were travelling in suchand-such a place, and you asked Me to give you a travelling companion, and I did so.

Remember when you asked for the hand of so-and-so the daughter of so-and-so, and others also asked for her hand, so I gave her to you to marry; and kept the others away.”

His slave will be standing before his Lord, Who will remind him of His many blessings.’”

Then the narrator of this story (Layth) wept and said,

I hope that no one will stand before his Lord in this way, because the one who does so will be punished.” (i.e. if Allâh has to point out that which should be obvious, this is a sign of a person’s ingratitude, and he will be punished.)

[‘The Sahâbah and Tabi‘în on Gratitude’  in Ibn al Qayyim al Jawziyyah (R)’s Patience and Gratitude, pp. 47 of the pdf]

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“They never let me go anywhere!”

Bismillah walhamdu lillah

This complaint is one that is probably more common from the sisters. I know for me personally, when I first decided to be serious about the deen, I had this tremendous desire to attend lectures, take notes in my Islamic notebook and be surrounded by other serious Muslims. I would make sure not to miss any of the events or lectures that were offered by my college MSA. But when it came to attending stuff outside the small perimeter of the campus, the answer from my parents was usually a “no.” At one point, it became such that the answer was even a “no” for events on campus! I mention this not to complain, but because I am pretty sure there are other sisters out there who are going through something like this. I felt like everyone else had it so easy. They probably just had to “tell” their parents they were leaving, not even asking them for permission. This is how I used to think.

This post is not so that I can tell you that it gets better. Even though it does get better, assuming you meet certain conditions (patient perseverance, among other things) inshaa Allah. But if your family is like mine, it will still take some time. And when you are someone who has just been granted hidaya, you can’t help but feel sad when you think about all the time you spent doing wasteful and/or impermissible actions. Now you just want to be left in your room to read books and articles and pray and make du’aa. The last thing you want to hear me say is, “it will take time.”

So hear this: Sisters (or brothers, if you have a similar problem), if you are sincere about learning the deen, then stop fighting with your parents so that you can attend the local classes and sit in the gatherings. There are plenty of resources online that we can utilize, and the person who fails to take advantage of that which is available to them, needs to question their sincerity in seeking knowledge. Is it really to gain a better understanding of Islam, or is there some other motive involved? I know for me, sometimes I just wanted to go out there and see for myself that I wasn’t alone. That there really were other “practicing” Muslims out there. But honestly, that reason was/is not enough. I am telling you, you’re not alone. There are others out there just like you.

Now that we understand that, begin to take advantage of what you have available at your fingertips. You can order Islamic books online instead of going to the bookstore. You can listen to online lectures and full series on websites. You can even attend classes and earn degrees, right out of the comfort of your home! It really is an amazing time that we are living in, in terms of technological advancements and using it to learn the deen.

This doesn’t mean that you should give up attending Islamic courses and gatherings of dhikr. Don’t completely isolate yourself from the community. Attend, but with moderation. And continue to make du’aa and appeal to your parents. But don’t sit around and wait for them to say “yes,” when you know that you have other outlets of Islamic knowledge that they would be more accepting of. (You can check out my right-side bar for links that will lead you to what you are in search for inshaa Allah.)

waAllahu Alam


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