Today was such a spiritually uplifting day. I feel that I’m receiving so much benefit here–from the sisterhood and brotherhood to the information from the lectures. MashAllah. Today I want to share snippets from a lecture from Shaykh Mohammed Mendes, entitled “The Qur’an on the Journey to Allah.” In it, he extolled a shaykh that I’ve only heard about fleetingly: Imam Ahmadu Bamba Al-Hasani (1854-1927), who was a descendant of rasulAllah (saws) from Senegambia, West Africa!!! I never knew there was an African descendent of the Prophet, mashAllah, and a pretty contemporary one at that!! We read an excerpt from his 1600-verse poem, Masalik al-Jinan (The Paths of Paradise), that is specifically on the recitation of the Qur’an and related matters.
Imam Bamba was a lover of the Qur’an. He called it his beloved (habibi), his imam (imami), and friend (khalili). He loved the Qur’an so much that when given gifts, he would only accept the Qur’an by hand. Every other gift was told to just be put down. MashAllah. And the lesson from this poem is that the Qur’an isn’t the gift that should be put down on our shelves to gather dust. We should take the Qur’an as our friend, because as the Prophet (saws) said, “A man follows the religion of his friend; so each one should consider whom he makes his friend.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)
And this seems to be the theme of today. Surrounding ourselves with positive influences so that we become better. At first, I thought of this only in the concrete way–the friends I hug and invite over my house, but as Shaykh Mohammed Mendes reminded us: Who could be a better friend than the Qur’an who has every answer inside of it? Every remedy–everything we need to know? He said that many scholars have said that if you haven’t found the answer you seek in the Qur’an, you aren’t reading deeply enough. Subhanallah. The Prophet (saws) was a walking Qur’an. His character was the Qur’an. We are to follow his example, so we must also become Qurani-c.
He (peace be upon him) also said: “A good friend and a bad friend are like a perfume-seller and a blacksmith: The perfume-seller might give you some perfume as a gift, or you might buy some from him, or at least you might smell its fragrance. As for the blacksmith, he might singe your clothes, and at the very least you will breathe in the fumes of the furnace.” (Bukhari)
Would you rather have the perfume of Heaven or the fumes of Hell? Hmmm…the choice isn’t that hard intellectually, but putting into practice in a world of distractions seems to be. But let me share two new hadiths that I learned today, both from Aish’a (ra), though I don’t know their source (I’ll get back to you on that inshAllah–by the way, Aisha is the one who described the Prophet and his character as Quranic as well). She said:
“I’m bewildered at a man who has reached the age of 60 and hasn’t memorized the Qur’an.”
She then further said, “I’m bewildered at a woman who has reached the age of 20 and hasn’t memorized the Qur’an.”
So it’s time to get cracking. I turned twenty-six four weeks ago. But it’s never too late to make a new friend. And even if I never finish this newfound goal (as of today, no less!!) of trying to memorize the Qur’an, actions are by intentions, and Allah records a good deed as done even if one does not complete it. And He doubles the reward for those who struggle with Quranic pronunciation, too…so don’t think of the Qur’an as a burden or hardship–what a blessing reciting it will be for all those who struggle with Arabic!! And doesn’t everyone stumble a little at some point or another with Arabic? 🙂