Part I | Part II
Veiled from sight, a young woman walked down the streets of Cairo, reciting Qur’an to herself and thinking about her goals. She loved the Qur’an and was passionate about studying and teaching it. She wanted to move to Saudi Arabia, where she knew of Qur’anic scholars from whom she dreamt of learning. She was mesmerized by Makkah and Madinah; she’d find herself spending hours making du`a’ (supplication) to visit the House of her Lord in Ramadan, to make the journey of Hajj, to walk through the land of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him). Working on a Master’s degree and traveling for hours in traffic to come to her students’ homes and teach them Qur’an never caused her to complain. She was constantly working on reviewing her Qur’an; she had memorized it completely from years past and she continued to review it to ensure it never left her heart.
Suddenly, she was stopped by a random lady on the road. “Excuse me,” the lady inquired, peering into the eyes of the girl whose heart burned with the inscription of the Words of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (swt), whose face was veiled by her niqab, whose hands were covered by gloves, and whose body was cloaked by a long, flowing outer garment. “Are you married or engaged?” the lady asked. Staring at the lady, the young woman replied in the negative: hesitant, yet curious at such a loaded question from a random passerby. Considering her outer dress, the strange lady certainly was not asking because she found the young woman to be ridiculously beautiful. “I have a brother,” the lady explained. “He’s Egyptian, but he lives in Saudi Arabia. He has memorized the entire Qur’an. He has qualifications to teach it. He’s looking to get married. Might you be interested?”
Incredulous, the young woman exchanged information with the random woman on the street. Soon, their families initiated contact and within weeks, the brother of the strange lady had come to visit the young woman and her family. With time, prayers, and lots of consultation, the young woman finally agreed. She would marry the young man with whom she would live in Saudi Arabia, the young man who helped her plan to make Hajj that very year, the young man who had already memorized the Qur’an and who had dedicated his heart to the Book of Allah (swt). This young man, now her husband, was introduced to her by a random lady on the road.
This is the story of how my Qur’an teacher was united with her better half. She had devoted her life to the Qur’an and to her studies. She focused on her objectives of being a servant of Allah (swt) and of His Book, and maintained that focus in every aspect of her life. I would never have imagined that she would get married to someone who was the missing piece to everything she was looking for and even more. I should have realized that my puny imagination is nothing in comparison to Allah’s Power and Decree. Allah (swt) hooked up my Qur’an teacher big time and it could easily be argued that it was because she hooked up with the Book of Allah (swt).
Hooking up with Allah (swt) means being hooked up in the best of ways in every realm of life. Marriage, graduate school, studying overseas, relationship with one’s parents, getting a job, passing the SATs with high scores… you dream of it, yearn for it… who’s going to really give it to you? Your Facebook friends? Or the Lord and Ruler of all the Worlds (swt)?
Allah, the Exalted, has told us in a sacred hadith, “…the most beloved thing with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon them; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing nawafil (voluntary prayers or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) until I love them, (so much so that) I become the hearing with which they hear, and the sight with which they see, and the hand with which they strike, and the leg with which they walk; and if they ask Me something, I will surely give them, and if they seek My Protection (refuge), I will surely protect them.”
Get this: Allah (swt) might not give you exactly what you want when you beg of Him in supplication, but because He loves you, He’ll always give you something better. The Prophet ﷺ has taught us, “Any Muslim who supplicates to Allah in a du`a’ which contains no sin or breaking of kinship, Allah (swt) will give him one of three things: either his du`a’ will be immediately answered; or it will be saved for him in the hereafter; or it will turn away an equivalent amount of evil (from him).” The companions said, “So we will ask for more.” He replied, “Allahu Akthar”–Allah is even more. More than whatever they ask, more than whatever we all ask.
Maybe marriage isn’t actually great for you and maybe that specific job won’t actually be everything which you’ve dreamed. There are numerous uncertainties regarding the outcome of our affairs. However, without doubt, when we hook up with Allah, if we’re sincere and determined to work, we can be certain that He will always guide us to whatever will ultimately bring us eternal happiness.
So, how can we hook up with Allah? How can we be of those who do our best to do obligatory actions and then run to our Lord through extra acts of worship?
Let’s take my Qur’an teacher’s example – let’s hook up with the Qur’an! Let’s make the intention to become the people of the Qur’an! Let’s begin by believing with certainty that we want to make a connection with Allah’s Words; that we want the Qur’an to play a pivotal role in our lives. Once we’ve made that commitment, bi’ithnillah (with the permission of Allah), here’s a suggested plan of action:
- If we’re in school, at work, have family or other obligations and are already squeezed for time, let’s make a commitment to begin by reading the Qur’an on a daily basis and in a language we understand because the point is to understand it and make that crazy strong connection with it.
- Suggestion for those of us who just can not get off our laptops and always lament wasting time: make a sticky note to put somewhere on your laptop which reads something like, “Have you hooked up with Kitab Allah today?” or “[Your name here], don’t you want Allah (swt) to hook you up?” Hooking up with Allah (swt) is beyond any hooking up we can do over social media and will bring us ridiculous quantities of benefit in this life and the next insha’Allah!
- If you are not yet able to read Arabic, keep up with reading the translation, and when you can, try to begin learning the language of the Qur’an. There are a ton of online programs for this now. However, never let language stop you from connecting with the Qur’an. Read the translation in any language with which you find easiest to connect, and with time, you will insha’Allah be pleasantly shocked at how much you’re finding your personal perspective to be one of the Qur’anic narrative.
- If you already know how to read Arabic but don’t understand what you’re reading: begin by setting an amount of Qur’an that you’ll read every day in both the Arabic and translation. For example, if I know I’m intensely busy and updating my Facebook is also a significant part of my life, let me make a commitment to start with just five verses a day, both in English and in Arabic, and let me make sure I don’t sleep without doing my Qur’an for that day.
- If you can make a commitment from now to memorize the Qur’an, start looking for a teacher who can help you with tajweed and once you’re ready, memorization. If you can’t find anyone in your area, then find a Qur’an buddy near you who can help you read and learn the basics until you find someone who can fully teach you. If you live in the middle of nowhere and there’s really no one near you at all, search online for programs which teach tajweed which you can do via Skype or other means from your own home. Readers, please comment with online programs you recommend! If you have no one but know how to read with passing tajweed, just start! Set a goal for yourself, write it down, and work on moving forward weekly. Thus, within a month, instead of having never opened the Qur’an, insha’Allah you’ll have perhaps even an entire new chapter memorized!
- Finally, if sometimes you feel apathetic, find yourself slipping, or realize that your heart is feeling bored with trying to make a connection with the Qur’an, change your mindset. Stand up, say bismillah (in the name of Allah) and seek refuge with Allah (swt) from the accursed Devil. Jump up and call in a loud and exciting voice with an enormous grin on your face, “THE QUR’AN IS MY BEST FRIEND!!!” Maybe it’s not completely true yet, but insha’Allah with enough convincing, and moving your body in an excitable way, your total physical response to the Qur’an combined with your newfound daily relationship with the Book of Allah, will help your neurons make positive connections which they will soon need more than your lungs need air.
Let’s make the Qur’an our best friend! When we’re sad, lonely, depressed and frustrated, let’s say, “I needa vent with the Book of Allah,” and just recite it all out. We will find ourselves connecting with Allah’s Words, awed by the relevance of His Book to the exact tribulation we’re experiencing. When we’re elated, let’s say, “I can’t wait to tell all of this to my best friend” and run to the Qur’an! Not excited? Fake it till you convince yourself to make it, insha’Allah! Insha’Allah we will be shocked at the fact that even though we’ve read the same surah (chapter) a hundred times over, we don’t remember ever reading the very same dynamic words before. And when we’re too busy, let’s realize how eager we’d be if some public figure we thought was amazing just called us up on our cells. Wouldn’t we make time, wouldn’t our adrenaline suddenly rush when we see whose actually calling us?
So then, let’s rush with that same vigor to drop everything and make time for the most important One – the Rabb al `alameen, the Lord of the Worlds. Let’s develop a strong relationship with the Words which He has revealed to take us from the darknesses of this life to the one light and to help us be a means of benefit in society.
The Prophet ﷺ taught us, “The Companions of the Qur’an are the people of Allah, and His favored people” [Nisai]. Let us be of Allah’s favored people – those who work to recite the Qur’an by day and night, work to memorize, understand, and live by it! Let us consciously decide to strive to take it as our best friend!
Whatever we’re seeking, in this life or the next, let’s hook up with the Book of Allah and have certainty that because of the sincerity of our investment, Allah (swt) will hook us up in whatever ways are best.