Month: January 2016

Inspirations from a Dictionary.

This week at Bayyinah, we’ve delved into an ocean of information by learning how to use multiple Arabic dictionaries and how to access them in a quick, efficient way. Now, we don’t just have to just rely on our weekly vocabulary list- we can now search up words and do research on our own and the feeling is incredible. As the program continues and we start to open up more and more resources, I am just floored at what an endless ocean this study is and how much effort has gone behind compiling such works.

As we were going through the different dictionaries on the database, Ustadh Adam would give us a brief background of the people behind the compilation of such incredible works. The story that struck me the most was that of Edward William Lane who compiled the Arabic-English Lexicon, also known as Lane’s Lexicon. Lane’s Lexicon is an amazing resource because it not only provides definitions but examples of how certain words were used in classical Arabic, some expressions, names of Allah, and even examples from the Qur’an. It is so, so detailed and so thorough- it made me wonder what kind of dedication it must have taken to research and compile such a work. Ustadh Adam then told us a little bit about William Lane and said that when Lane was working on this dictionary, he would just lock himself in his room amongst all his resources, surrounded by many books and would never come out of his room. His dedication to this work was so much so that his servant would even slip food through the door and that’s how he would eat.

Hearing this account made me appreciate Lane’s work so much more but above that, I was really inspired by his passion and dedication- that an individual can love something and be so driven by a cause to put so much time, sweat, and effort into it is just absolutely remarkable and made me reflect on my own journey here. There are points where I can notice the exhaustion taking a toll, where the fuel seems to be running out and motivation seems to be dwindling but just hearing such stories of dedication and effort fills the tank a little bit more each time. I have to remember why I’m here. I have to retrace my steps. Anyone on the journey towards a goal at some point will have to refuel, recheck intentions, reset themselves- what am I working towards? Why am I doing what I am doing? Why did I start this endeavor to begin with?

If I really am passionate about the book of Allah, if I really believe in the power of the Qur’an to transform lives, if I really believe that this Book is the solution to my problems and for all of humanity, then I have to pour my heart and soul and energy and effort to this cause, just like Lane did in his Lexicon when he really, truly believed in what he was doing. May Allah make us people of work ethic, or dedication, and resilience and allow us to pour our heart and energy for His sake to serve Him and above all, accept our efforts and allow them to grow beyond expectations. Ameen.



For the past few weeks, we have started to do I’raab- grammatical analysis of verses from the Qur’an where Ustadh Adam would pick a passage from the Qur’an, highlight words or fragments and we would have to recognize the role that they played and break the ayaat down based on everything that we had learned so far. When we starting doing these exercises, it would take Ustadh some time to pick out what to highlight because we were barely starting to piece things together so in the span of a page of the Qur’an, there would be a handful of highlighted words. Just the other day, though, we were doing another practice set before our exam and I looked up at the screen and almost the whole page was highlighted in yellow and I was just stunned. It was like slowly starting to see some of the fruits of your efforts before your eyes and the feeling was incredible.

The journey here has not been totally smooth sailing. There are some weeks that were smooth, everything seemed to click and make sense but there have also been others week where it seems as if no matter how I tried, there were still slip ups here and there. There have been a lot of tears, a lot of nights before the exam where I wonder if I am even cut for this, moments of doubt, moments of disappointment at my own self but looking up at the screen full of so much yellow, there was a feeling of happiness and gratitude that filled me. I may still struggle and fall short many times and make mistakes but from Day 1 to now, step by step, I am progressing more than I have ever progressed in my entire life before this program, Alhamdulillah. Slowly, Allah is opening more and more of His Book for me. Slowly but surely, my mushaf is becoming more familiar, more recognizable and just that is worth every tear, every moment of exhaustion, and every second of effort. Because if there’s one thing that worth struggling a lifetime for- it’s this Book. It’s the Qur’an. It’s our Master’s words that are the key to our success in this world and our ultimate success in the Next.

May Allah keep us students of His Book as long as we are alive and help us unlock its treasures and raise us on the Day of Judgment as the People of the Qur’an, Ameen.

Practicing Patience.

Patience is a very strange thing. I realized that for most of my life, I never truly understood the definition of patience. For so long, patience was simply waiting in line, waiting to get picked up, controlling road rage- basically patience with others, but as I grow older, patience has become a different challenge and has taken different shapes and forms. Patience has become holding back, its become a battle of cluttered thoughts, it’s become an exercise in tawakkul, and it is an everyday struggle, more often with the self, rather than others. It no longer remains a theoretical concept but in reality, has become something that practically requires a redirection towards Allah, a conscious redirection of thoughts and a physical redirection of the limbs to submission in sujood. And this is not always easy.

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Teacher of a Teacher

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Musa is one of our greatest teachers. Allah SWT narrates his stories, and his words to us in the Quran more than any other prophet.

We learn in Surah Kahf, however, that even the the greatest of teachers are also students. Allah commands Musa AS to search for a man who will show him what he doesn’t know, a man who will teach him.

We can only imagine that the the status and knowledge of this man to whom Musa AS was sent to is immense. This great prophet of Allah, this leader of a nation, is told to trek across endless terrain just to find him.

Yet, when Allah SWT describes such an amazing and knowledge person, he does so by not only calling him a slave, but by calling him a slave from amongst slaves, the most humbling of monikers.

In this, we learn something profound. The more one increases in knowledge, the more humbled he should be. Knowledge increases one’s ranks, and the highest of ranks we may achieve before the Lord of the Worlds is slave.

Often times, in the present day, we think in opposite terms. As we come to understand more and more, we become fuller and fuller of ourselves, losing sight of the purpose of knowledge itself.

Knowledge is not a goal, rather a path. A path towards guidance. If we treat it as anything else it will consume and destroy us with self delusion. If such great men as Musa were humble before the Lord of the Worlds then it is certainly upon us to take that same attitude.

A Single Step.

One of my favorite parts of being at Bayyinah is a small 5 minute chunk of our day where we learn various Arabic expressions that are very short yet so eloquent and deep. In years past, students had to memorize almost 300+ expressions but this year, Alhamdulillah the list is much shorter. One of my favorite expressions that we’ve covered so far was on Day 2 and it’s still one that I reflect on from time to time. The expression is:

الفُ ميلٍ تبدأ بِخَطوةٍ

A thousand miles begins with a single step. 

Often times in the course of our life, we make plans, we set goals, we dream big, and rightfully so. But the destination, the goal, and the dream seem so distant and difficult…like a thousand miles away and the fear of failure intimidates us, it cripples us. As much as we want to attain it, thinking of the long tiring road ahead leaves us overwhelmed, unproductive, and still at stuck in the same position. But you have to start somewhere. You have to take the first step. And little by little, step by step, du’a by du’a, the daunting task, the long road starts to seem tangible, starts to seem even enjoyable. Its often the first step that’s the hardest because it’s surrounded by fear, insecurity, baggage, and doubt. Once you overcome that, the steps that follow become more familiar and more comfortable.

This can apply to almost every aspect of our life- education, career, relationships, personal development and even in our faith. In our journey to God, we often carry heavy baggage whether that’s in the form of our sins, our own doubts, our past, our fears and our pain and we let those things weigh us down. We feel like we’re too far, too bad, too messed up with too much baggage to start over, to become better. In our minds, the road to becoming closer to God seems to be “a thousand miles”, our perception of what it means to be a “good Muslim” seems to be such a far stretch but we just have to take the first step and Allah (swt) says: “Take one step towards me, I will take ten steps towards you. Walk towards me, I will run towards you.” [Hadith Qudsi]

We just have to take the first step. Instead of looking at the thousand miles ahead, instead of being overwhelmed and crippled, even with faith we have let go and start step by step. What can I do better today? What can I take away that is pulling me away from Allah? What can I do to get closer to Allah? And slowly but surely, when we start sincerely turning back to Allah, when we put in that effort, when we turn back through istighfar and tawbah, through salah and du’a, Allah will not let those efforts go to waste and He guides the hearts that are sincerely seeking Him. It all starts with a single step.

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