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Archive for September, 2009

YaSin: Heart of the Quran

For the Muslims like me whom Arabic is not their native tongue, the challenge to understand the Qur’an is harder.  But Alhamdulillah, nowadays we are blessed with many English translations of the meaning of the Qur’an and tafseer, or commentary of the Qur’an;  as well as many other resources such as online lectures and articles.  All these things together help us to really appreciate the magnitude of what the Qur’an is saying and the awesomeness of Allah’s words!

One thing that I have found that over the years has helped me to understand the Qur’an better is to every Ramadan to chose a part, surah, or theme to study more in depth.  While it is equally important to recite the Qur’an in Arabic, studying this way helps you to internalize more what its saying, what Allah is telling us.

For example, one year I studied Juz Amma with some friends.  We used the Touched by an Angel series by Muhammad AlShareef. 

This year I got a Ramadan Reminder that encouraged me to read Surah Yasin.  Having never fully studied it, I broke out my Muhammad Asad translation of the meaning of the Qur’an and started reading.  Now, years after coming to Islam, and with more knowledge and understanding under my belt, this Surah blew me away!  No wonder its known as the “heart of the Qur’an”.  This surah is an intimate heart to heart talk between Allah and His created (us).  And its content is important for us to reflect on now while we are still alive, not just when someone or we are dying.

Some points of interest in this Surah:

  • ‘Revealed in the early part of what is termed the “middle” Mecca period (probably just before Al-Furqan), this surah is almost entirely devoted to the problem of man’s moral responsiblity and, hence, to the certainty of resurrection and Allah’s judgement: and it is for this reason that the Prophetshabab_saw called upon his followers to recite it upon the dying and in prayers for the dead (cf.  several traditions to this effect quoted by Ibn Kathir in his commentary of this surah).’  (The Message of the Qur’an, Translated and Explained by Muhammad Asad)
  • “Its main theme is the assertion of the principle of Tawheed, oneness of Allah, and its objective is to draw attention to Allah’s magnificient creation and to call people to prepare for accountability to Him.  It can be divided into an introduction followed by three distinct parts…the first part relates a story of a town where messengers came, the identies are irrelevant, the message of the story is what’s important; the second part offers evidence of Allah’s omnipotence and magnificence; and the final part deals with two of the most fundamental religious principles:  resurrection and judgement.”  (A Thematic Commentary of the Qur’an, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ghazali)
  • The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)said, The heart of the Qur�an is Ya Sin. No one recites it, seeking Allah and the next life, except that they are forgiven. Recite it for your dead.� [Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Nasa�i, Ibn Maja, and Hakim, who deemed it rigorously authentic (sahih)                   [source:  qa.sunnipath.com]
  • Imam Ghazali explained that it is called the �Heart of the Qur�an� because the soundness of faith rests on accepting the Resurrection and Standing before one�s Lord for Reckoning, and this Sura affirms these meanings in the most emphatic of ways. Others said that it is because it affirms all the central bases of faith emphatically.  [source: qa.sunnipath.com]
  • Anytime Allah swears by something you should take NOTICE, and in the first few verses of this surah Allah swears by the Qur’an itself, and what’s more is Allah swears by it to confim the legitimacy of Muhammad as a Messenger of Allahshabab_saw

From my reading, the following ayat stuck out:

–  Ayah 30 “…oh the regrets that [most] human beings will have to bear!…”  in the footnotes of this ayah it talks about how most people will bring about thier own spirtual deaths.

-Ayah 68 …Speaks about how as we grow older we decline in our abilitiy, yet we do not contemplate that we have had the free will and time to make moral choices, but choose to wait till we can no longer use this unique gift…will we not be grateful?

-Ayat 35 and 73 Allah reminds us of his favors, and then asks “…will they not, then, be grateful?…”  Being grateful for things does a lot for one’s soul and mental health. 

-Ayah 77 reminds us that we all started off as a liquid, and that it was Allah that brought us from something that we disgust into a being capable of thinking and arguing.  And some have the audacity to argue with Allah!  Think over that for a second, the miracle of creation, be grateful…think of some sci/fi movies it could have been so much worse for us LOL, but Allah blessed us with the abilities and choices we have

-Ayah 83, this ayah struck with such power as I read the whole surah, it is the perfect ending, and it reminds us of the true reality.                          

“Limitless, then, in His glory is He in whose hands rests the mighty dominion over all things; and unto Him you all will be brought back!”

Some links for Surah Ya-Sin:

  • A beautiful recitation of Surah YaSin
  • Another recitation by a young boy here:

 

Don’t Forget!!!

-Recite the Qur’an in Arabic as much as you can, and if you don’t know then invest some time into learning how to read during Ramadan.  And then each year evaluate your progress and push yourself farther.

-Study the Qur’an in your language.  Either pick a part, Surah, or theme to study in depth during Ramadan…really take time to reflect on it and let it inspire and change you for the better.

And Finally…the Qur’an should be seen not as a book studied over a month, but a book that is a life-long study.  You will never read or contemplate it too much.  And you can do nothing but benefit from your efforts.  It will both guide you and bring you closer to Allah. 

***If anything is wrong in what I mentioned above, please forgive me, and if there is anything of benefit it is from Allah.

 

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Homework has always been a struggle in our house, except for my 7 year old which is a blessing in that he does it and finishes it without me ever knowing most of the time:)  But for my two older sons, now both in middle school its been more of a struggle to focus, complete, and turn in their homework consistently.  Some told me its their maturity, some think its cause they’re boys…for whatever reason, its been an issue.

This year my son that has ADD started Middle school (5th grade).  I knew there would be adjustments and was nervous to see how he would adjust.  But to my pleasant surprise, in school itself he has adjusted and is blooming 🙂  But homework is a major struggle, and leaving it status quo was not going to work! 

so i did the following things:

-I contacted his pediatrician and discussed his meds.  He takes focalin 15 mg XR (extended release).  We had settled on this amount after a few tweaks, 10 wasn’t enough, and 20 was caused him side effects of loss of appettite and his eye would twitch.  This dosage works well for him, but I had concerns it was wearing off by the time he got home, got some food, and started his home work.  She gave me 3 options which I am considering, but to be honest its my last option if possible:  first we could up his dosage, two we could give a half dose in the afternoons, or we could switch him to a new drug, vyvance, which is suppose to be more consistent throughout the day. 

My biggest problem with any of these, even though I struggle with him so much to get things done, is losing who he is.  He is so much more muted thru the day, and that makes it more convenient for everyone else, but its like seeing a black and white rainbow.  He is so much more animated, alive and full of smiles and giggles in the afternoons and evenings.  And one day I know this energy will be channeled into something, so to always be in control of him and not let him just be, doesn’t make sense to me.

-I also talked to his school therapist who sees him twice a month in group and once a month individually.  She gave me some suggestions and information.  And it was somewhat helpful, but still wasn’t the right fit.

So I continued my quest…

-I then did some research online, finding the following sites/articles extremely helpful:

http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/925.html

http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/5395.html

And yesterday we ended up with a breakthrough day in my book.  He got his homework done, he had a positive attitude and he was so much more efficient, getting the work that previously took sometimes 3 hours to do done in almost half the time:)!! 

Here is what worked for us:

-We took an hour break after school.  I told him go eat, go play, do what you want, but then you start on your work.

-He then worked for 20 mins, and took 5-10 min breaks.  And we kept doing this till he completed his work. 

-He also has daily reading, so as a reward for him getting done so fast I let him do that after dinner

-And throughout I praised him for his efforts and encouraged him.

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