Archive for September, 2014

Khushoo: Cut Those Ties

❝The way to cure your [concentration during prayer] is to forcibly repel your soul to what you’re reading throughout the prayer and busying yourself with that, opposed to other things. This starts with preparing prior to beginning the prayer by completing anything that would busy you, diligently trying to clear your heart, reminding yourself of the afterlife, and the severity of standing in front of Allah and Him staring at you. And if that doesn’t subside your thoughts, then know, what you think about is what’s important to you and what you desire; therefore analyze those desires and cut those ties.❞

— Ahmed ibn Qudaamah Al-Maqdisi (d. 689 AH)


HD 21: Depending on Your State

Bismillah walhamdulillah

While I will leave the specifics for another time, inshaAllah, it will suffice for now to say: For months, I was a “bad student.” I don’t like to use such black-and-white terms, but I met every description of the infamous bad student that many of us have heard of. I began missing classes, something I never did before. When I did attend, I came unprepared. Either I did not complete my memorization for that week, or I did not complete the muraaji’ah (review), or I completed the review, but I did not review it well enough to pass the weekly exam. Funny thing about Qur’an Homework – you can never hide the fact that you didn’t do it. And I am so painfully aware of this that sometimes, I would make mistakes out of nervousness that I would get caught making mistakes! (How’s that for a brain-twist.)

My teacher (let’s call her Ua) didn’t know what to do with me. So she would yell for a bit, and then she would offer me something to drink. May Allah swt preserve and bless her, she loves me so much and I don’t know why sometimes. But my poor performance continued. It was to the point that my behavior begged the question, Why do I keep going back to class? In a previous post, I mentioned that I never felt like quitting on hifdh. I have, since then, felt what it is like to toy with the possibility of quitting. It feels terrible.

It continued for months, and my teacher was watching the entire time. As she was observing me, however, I was also observing her. During the months that I was in a low period, Ua’s behavior towards me was also changing. Her expectations towards me were changing, even though she seemed to fight it. So while she didn’t like it, she wondered some weeks if I would come or not. My heart sunk the day that I rang her doorbell, only to hear her yell, “Who?!” She wasn’t expecting me. And even though she would be angry about it, she wasn’t surprised when I didn’t come with my homework or when I tripped through a surah that I obviously reviewed the day before. She began to give me less homework and would fight with me if I tried to ask for more. She also stopped teaching me tajweed rules as a class on the side, and the day I asked for a tajweed rule was the day when she refused and called me a “bad student.” But it was true.

Fast forward to today. Alhamdulillah, again for reasons I will not go into right now, things have begun to look up. I am completing my homework and passing my exams in Qur’an. I am attending regularly, and my efforts in Qur’an are slowly beginning to improve and show in my performance. And all praise and credit belongs to Allah swt.

My teacher was noticing the difference, and even remarked that, “I think you woke up.”

Well, it’s more of a process. I am waking up, walhamdulillah.

So all of this history made today all the more special. I didn’t have a perfect week. I didn’t review or memorize perfectly, and I made a few mistakes. But it was no where near as bad as before, and because she was comparing it to months of poor performance, she was impressed with me. I could tell. What happened from there? Her mood was lighter, and she was smiling more. She was asking me about mutashaabihaat (verses that are similar to each other) more. And that’s important because asking about mutashaabihaat is more difficult than just testing my recitation in other parts of the surah. This meant that she was expecting me to answer harder questions and to get them right. When I messed up, she was forgiving. And when I struggled through the last two pages (and clearly did not review them well) she said that she would test me on them next time. Two pages? Out of a twenty-one page surah. If she wanted she could have told me to review on my own, or she could have scolded me for it and let it go. But it was important to her that she test me on it, because she felt that that was important to me. When she gave me new pages to memorize, she took her time and slowly went through the ayaat with me, pausing at every difficult word or ayah. She would recite it, and I would repeat after her, and three pages took well over a half an hour (my estimation) because of how much care she was giving to details. Why?

It’s not because Ua cared more today, but because she believed I cared more.

Our teachers can only work with the concern and enthusiasm with which we approach them. If we show them that we want it, they will make sacrifices just so we can have it. SubhanAllah. Let them see that you want it! May Allah swt preserve our teachers and bless them and their families in their time and knowledge.