I grew up in a Muslim household, and my parents (mashaAllah) would always be teaching me about Islam and how I should be living my life according to Islamic values. I was taught the importance of treating every Muslim as my own brother/sister and to cherish the Qur’an that was given to us by God and taught by the Prophet Muhammad (S). I was taught all of it, but was never interested in it. “Islamic” lessons were just like school lessons; they bore me and I wanted to be done with them as soon as possible. I would read Qur’an to finish my assigned number of ayahs, but found no joy in it. I listened to what my Islamic Studies teachers taught me in class, but never bothered to open up an English Qur’an myself. Until a couple years ago, I don’t know if I ever read the Qur’an out of my own desire.
SubhanAllah. Here I am today, about two thirds of the way through the Arabic Qur’an (for the second time) and the English Qur’an and I’m actually enjoying it. I feel good when I read the Arabic, and I look forward to the stories I read in the English. After years of feeling so guilty for not loving my religion or being enthusiastic about it, I’m finally loving it. I love being a Muslim. I love that we have enough rules for structure, but not so many that would oppress our freedom of expression and enjoyment. I love the unity (even if some times are weaker than others). I love what I’m reading, and I can’t believe I’m saying that based on my history of being not at all interested in the text. I was reading my English ayahs for the day, and actually feeling sorry for people who haven’t found what they love in this religion. In my immature mind, I’ve always wished that everyone in the world could be Muslim, and still do, but as I read these stories and warnings to disbelievers, I really feel that sorrow for the people who don’t have God and Islam in their life.
Reason #7 to read Qur’an: That book collecting dust on your shelf suddenly becomes so much more valuable.
You know you’re getting closer to the end of the Qur’an when the surahs get shorter. I read the English translation of four surahs today. The ayah I want to share is from the 33rd surah, Surah Al-Ahzab (The Joint Forces). It’s short but sweet, and also very important. Ayah 6 says, “The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers.” I have always heard the teaching that one should love the Prophet (S) more than oneself, but the bit about the Prophet’s (S) wives is much less known (as far as I know). For anyone who says (or silently thinks) that Islam is a male-dominated religion, this ayah, along with many others, is here to prove them wrong. The ayah could have just said that the Prophet (S) is closer to us than our own selves and ended there, but it didn’t. The wives are included right afterwards, as our mothers who instruct us and take care of us. The Qur’an gives so much importance to the women in Prophet Muhammad’s (S) life that it included them right after the him, so we should never disregard the wives. Many Hadiths were transmitted by the wives of the Prophet (S), but it seems like only the feminists of us appreciate the wives. After reading this ayah, I now want to learn more about the wives of the Prophet (S) and the roles they played in history.
*IFTAR PICTURE OF THE DAY*
Cornbread and Gulab Jamun (my all-time favorite Indian dessert)
Chicken with Fresh Herbs and Citrus Sauce (This is the most cooking I’ve done all summer and I’m loving it!)
Yeah…I think iftar is just turning into an early dessert.