Friday, 30 June 2017

Monthly Favourites // April + May + June 2017 (Part I)

This is gonna be a long one. Hope y'all enjoy & benefit from it, in shaa Allah <3

Books //

Articles //

on race + gender

on minimalism

wait but why - a blog that i found and liked cos its very lighthearted

on islam

Thursday, 15 June 2017

class reflections

My 9AM class makes my heart grow in the purest of ways.

My lecturer is soft and kind. He’s the epitome of what I want to be, he is a being of light, the type of light that shines brightly yet gently, the type of light that makes you look into yourself and reflect, and inspires you to rid yourself of darkness and filth in your heart and to be light, too. 

When I look at him I see how Islam has positively impacted him, and it’s so beautiful to see how of the religion can change you into a better and purer being. 

His character reminds me in my pursuit of seeking knowledge that knowledge isn't merely the accumulation of information but knowledge is also adab (manners). Imam Shafie's mother said to Imam Shafie when he was 13,

"My son, you are now well known, you have memorized the whole Quran and you have memorized hadith and you have memorized poetry. I want to send you to Imam Malik to learn his adab, his character, before you learn his knowledge." (Source)

Adab (character) is a large part of Islam. In a conversation with papa I told him that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalaam spent 13 years in Makkah establishing Islam upon the correct aqidah (Islamic creed) before establishing the rules and regulations of Islam for 10 years in Medinah. Papa replied, "he spent 40 years before Prophethood, establishing great adab."

It reminds me that knowledge should be used to build. inspire. humble. turn you kind and soft. 

If being on the path of knowledge turns you angry and bitter, you gotta immediately stop in your tracks and self reflect. It may be that you are not worshipping Allah properly, and it may be that you are worshipping your ego and turning self righteous rather than righteous. May Allah protect us and guide us. 


Everyday at 9AM, we would all open Tafsir ibn Kathir and study Surah an-Nur. It was overall such an inspiring class, and it always makes my morning and leaves me with an warm feeling after class. Learning the tafsir of Surah an Nur has made me fond of the Quran in a way that I've never felt before. I remember listening to Lesley Hazleton speaking about her journey of reading the Quran years ago. She says in the talk, 

"I know many well-intentioned non-Muslims who've begun reading the Koran, but given up, disconcerted by its "otherness." The historian Thomas Carlyle considered Muhammad one of the world's greatest heroes, yet even he called the Koran "as toilsome reading as I ever undertook; a wearisome, confused jumble. 

Part of the problem, I think, is that we imagine that the Koran can be read as we usually read a book —as though we can curl up with it on a rainy afternoon with a bowl of popcorn within reach, as though God — and the Koran is entirely in the voice of God speaking to Muhammad — were just another author on the best-seller list." (Source)

When I heard her saying that, I laughed to myself because even as a Muslim, especially when I was younger, it would frustrate me from time to time that I was not able to understand the Quran. Why did God jump from one topic to another in one surah? Why did God talk about the creation of Adam in multiple different surah rather than in one surah? 

But Lesley Hazleton was right, I imagine that the Quran could be read as any other books as though God was just another author.

And He isn't.

My 9AM class helped me realise that. While studying Surah an-Nur, I could see how Surah an-Nur - despite discussing many different topics in the same surah, revolves under the same theme: privacy, modesty and protection. I could see how He strings one topic to another, how beautifully He begins them, develops the surah, and how beautifully everything is tied together in the end. It gave me a new insight of the Quran, and it felt great being able to understand what God wants you to know, and it left me in awe at how much of the Quran I still do not know of, and how much more there's left to learn. 

I also realised that the Quran is not for the lazy. It really isn't a book you can "curl up with on a rainy afternoon with a bowl of popcorn", it is God's speech that questions you, makes you reflect, ponder. You gotta work for it. But a thousand miles begins with a single step and Allah says in hadith qudsi,

"He who draws close to Me a hand's span, I will draw close to him an arm's length. 
And whoever draws near Me an arm's length, I will draw near him a fathom's length. 
And whoever comes to Me walking, I will go to him running." (Source)

May Allah give us the love and understanding of the Quran.