For the love of the Quran

Passion Corner: The Quran

Every year since I converted I would read through the entire Quran in English as I listened to Sh. Sudais on a CD set given to me shortly after my conversion. I would play the Arabic and follow along in English. Thanks to the transliteration, I could listen to make sure I was still keeping up or on the same page. I tried to learn Arabic but after several traumatic experiences, I resigned to the idea that I would never read the Quran in Arabic.

When I found Rabata and took my first Arabic class it started to click, and after the Quran Ready workshop, I felt ready for Rabata’s daily reading and in 2021, I managed to follow the slow recitation in Arabic. I set goals for the year but Allah presented me with a life-threatening health complication. Some days, even moving my body was hard, and after a particularly severe idiopathic Anaphylactic episode, I prepared myself for death. Nevertheless, I begged Allah swt to please give me health, so I could at least read the Quran in Arabic before I died.

When I regained 80% of my health, I returned to my studies, disappointed to discover I had to start over. Anyway, I focused on how grateful I was to have a clear enough mind and began again. By this Ramadan, I made the intention to complete one khitma reading out loud along with the reciters. I signed up to volunteer as a host for Rabata Quran Reading to reinforce my goal and create accountability. When I sat down on the 29th night to complete the khitma on my own, I couldn’t control the tears that began to pour as I read the last Surahs. My youngest daughter sat beside me and hugged me with pride.

I still can’t believe after 23 years as a Muslim that I finally connected with the Quran the way I had hoped. It wasn’t a linear journey, it wasn’t fast, and it didn’t come easy, and this was what made its completion so much deeper for me. In moments I felt it was too hard, my Anisats words would echo in my head, “Believers are not people that give up.”

Eva Sasa, Rabata Volunteer from Rhode Island

Tips: How I Completed A Khitma

Alhamdulillah, with the help of Allah and Masjid Rabata, I was able to complete my first khitma in Arabic this year. 

These are the things that helped me along the way:

  • Make the intention/have a set goal. By Allah’s mercy, I was pregnant this past ramadan, so that helped a lot as I did not have any menstrual cycles to deal with. My goal was 1 juz a day. I also had a goal of joining Masjid Rabata’s program when I could. 
  • Masjid Rabata and in-person readings at the Rabata Cultural Center. Seriously, without these programs I don’t think I would have had the motivation to even read. This programming kept me on track, even though I couldn’t always attend or was late to it. However, I made sure I read for that day and if I attended late, I made sure to read what I had missed as soon as the program was over. 
  • Having a Quran app on my phone. This way, the Quran was accessible to me no matter where I went. I like my app because I can also download recitations of the juz. I usually would follow along with a reciter. 
  • Giving myself grace with household chores and giving my toddler screen time. When it was my time to read Quran, my toddler would get her tablet. I also tended to read between Asr and Maghrib time. Sometimes, I would read in the morning too–not after Fajr, but before I started my day. 

I’d also like to note, although I don’t know tajwid yet, my Arabic has certainly improved over the years and that’s mainly due to Ribaat’s beginner tajwid class and the Arabic classes that I have taken. For this I’d like to thank all my teachers; especially Anse Hafsa and Anse Nishat. 

Jessica Nix, Rabata Volunteer from Minnesota

This article was originally published in the Rabateers Newsletter. Both Eva Sasa and Jessica Nix are also Ribaat Students.

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