What is it about rain that completely captivates so many people? It is storming right now outside my house and I’m finding myself completely enthralled.The lightning and thunder that used to terrify me now pull me in, making me crave more of the show they put on outside my window. During storms like these I find myself unable to look away from the window, feeling a rush of both fear and awe.
SubhanAllah. Glory be to God.
Like a true introvert, I had a really good day spending time in the quiet and comfort of my own home. I did some mosque-related work on the computer, watched the Germany vs. Algeria game (Algeria lost 😦 ) and listened to a quick online lecture while helping my mom with some paperwork. Simple bliss.
I also spent a huge chunk of my day reading Qur’an. I calculated it last night and it looks like I’m going to have to read eight pages of the Arabic Qur’an after every prayer (except Maghrib) to be able to finish the whole thing by the end of the month. I thought, “Eight pages. No big deal. I’m a pretty fast reader; it’ll be easy,” but then I started reading.
Eight pages is long! It took me around 20 minutes after each prayer to read that much! Spending 20 minutes reciting Qur’an is tough. By the 6th and 7th page, I was stuttering and making mistakes like no other. As I was reading, my confidence in completing my goal was diminishing. It is just so much reading and takes so much time and attention (that I already don’t have a lot of), and I wonder if making mistakes in recitation is even worth the extra pages.
I wanted to change my goal and just read maybe five or six pages a day, in return not being able to complete the whole Qur’an, but then a thought popped into my head.
This is just like training.
Last year I ran a 5k. It was the longest distance I had ever run in my life until that point. Until only a couple of months leading up to the race, I had only been able to run a mile or two at a time, and the five kilometers would be over three miles. But I wanted to push myself and see if I could really do it, so I trained twice a week, running a mile, then a mile and a half, then two miles, and so on until I was able to make it to 3.1 miles in time for the 5k. Since then, I’ve been increasing my distance even more to four miles, alhamdulillah (praise be to God). Now, one mile seems like a piece of cake and barely even a workout for me.
I realized today that reading Qur’an is a similar process. I’m used to reading two to four pages at a time. Compared to that, it’s no wonder why eight seems so overwhelming to me. But this struggle is exactly how I felt when I increased my running distance from one mile to two miles. It was super difficult at first, but I knew that in order to get to 5k, I would have to just rough it out for a couple of days while my body got adjusted to the increased length. So if I just keep going at it and read all eight pages after each prayer, eventually it won’t seem so long.
That is why I refuse to lower my goal, no matter how much I want to. Just as much as my body needs to adjust to physical training, my tongue and attention span need to adjust to reading more Qur’an.
Coincidentally, earlier today one of my friends shared a quote from Anse Tamara Gray which goes along perfectly with this line of thinking: “If you are feeling tired and sluggish on this first day of fasting, remember that eleven months out of the year we ignore the sluggish and tired heart and soul and focus on our bodies. This month is for our spirit.”
So just as much as running trains and strengthens my body, I pray that this Qur’an reading may train and strengthen my mind, spirit, and soul. Ameen.
And subhanAllah, watching myself reach the 3rd juz on only my second day of reading is an incredible and encouraging feeling (The Qur’an is divided into 30 equal parts, called juz). InshaAllah I think I’m going to finish Surat Al-Baqara (Chapter 2, “The Cow”) tonight. Al-Baqara is the longest chapter in the Qur’an, and I have never read through it this quickly before.
*IFTAR PICTURE OF THE DAY*
Okay, I have to be honest. I ate the brownies and cookies as my iftar, not dessert. I got the recipe for the Cheesecake Brownies online if anyone is interested. They’re really good! The recipe is actually for Oreo Cheesecake Brownies, but I skipped the Oreo topping and just ate the cookies whole. 😛