What I Neglected to Do With the Quran

reading_quran
I have been really focused on the Quran Year Project (check out more on QYP here and here) over other forms of ‘religious extracurricular activities’. Its going strong and I am getting some positive feedback, advice, and encouragement. But in this hyper focus to ‘read and study the Quran’ I totally focused on the English.
I recently realized how the English focus, has really taken me away from the spiritual tug on my heart feeling I get when I hear the Quran recited. Imam Nouman Ali Khan, from Bayyinah Institute, a institute focused on helping Muslims to connect with the Quran, posted this message on Facebook and it caused me to take a step back:

My youngest son, Khalid, is just over a week old and he’s still in intensive care. Please pray for him. He has a heart condition…I was sitting with him in my lap reciting Quran to him last night. The ICU is full of babies with troubled heart rates and breathing issues and blood pressure (may Allah heal them all). I finished reciting and the nurse came up to me and told me that, while I was singing the prayer for my son, his heart rate and breathing along with all the other babies in the vicinity normalized. She just watched all the machines as the rates dropped and the babies relaxed. She thanked me for helping all the babies with my song.

Posted by Nouman Ali Khan on Monday, November 2, 2015

Thats pretty incredible and relatable. We all feel the rhythm of music, whether it be the pulsing of the drum or the fluidity of a flute, in our bodies. Our entire being responds to this external noise. Its one reason I don’t listen to music that contains explicitly vulgar lyrics anymore.

Interestingly enough, as I reflect on this post, I realize I don’t use profanity either, which I used too. I don’t have a problem with it per se, I rather not have my brain immersed in vulgarity just because its cool to put it in the lyrics or use it in daily use. There are other ways to express, a whole dictionary of words potentially.

Whenever I am emotionally charged (having anxiety?) I find myself making wudu and reading the Quran. My favorite chapters to recite are Mulk (short and sweet) and sometimes portions of Yasin or the whole of it. But I haven’t been reading the Arabic so much for QYP. I was reminded, and at a wonderful time, because I was going to sit down to study At Takwir which has immensely powerful conjuring of images from the Day of Judgement. One of the first chapters that presented a lengthy description of this subject matter.

The drive factor for QYP is still going strong, but I realized I needed to not get lost in that textual study approach, especially since I am doing it in English and not Arabic. This project was initiated to better understand the Prophet Muhammad, and to develop an intimate relationship with God. And I needed to let myself get lost in the recitation of the Quran before I got too caught up in the textual analysis.

I do that though. I get emotionally detached from the things I am involved with in order to keep focused and goal orientated. It gets awkward sometimes because I come off as being dispassionate and/or cold. But thats just not the case. I do need to allow the spiritual movement of my heart to flow forward with the Arabic recitation and keep me grounded in the spiritual purpose behind this project; that is the goal here. So I appreciated Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan, and of coarse have kept his son and family in my prayers.

Take a listen for yourself, this is Yasin recited by one of the popular Quranic reciters Shaykh Mishary Rashid al Afasy.

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