A Journey to Ramadan

Alhumdulilah, as part of my own Qur’aanic odyssey, I have had the honor of working with many rising Qur’aan stars  this year, especially in first grade. Following are a couple of Qur’aan learning, preserving and inshaa Allah loving tips, which may be of interest, especially in the countdown to the blessed month of Ramadan. Please note, many of these tips have been informed and inspired by Fee Qalbee, particularly the ‘Ready for Ramadhan‘ series.

1. Have you had the time or opportunity to ask yourself/loved ones, the following about Ramadan:  what am I/we doing on a daily basis to prepare for the majestic month of prayer, fasting, recitation, reflection, charity and closeness to AllahSWT IA?

2. Start packing a bag: yes, imagine that you are going on a journey. What will you need during the month of Ramadan to help you? What might you put in your bag, every day, in the next month and a half to get ready? Will you put in an ayah from the Qur’aan, a box of dates, prayer timings? A recitation by your favorite qari? A new hijab? A new topi? A new prayer mat? By the same token, what about things that you will not take on your journey? Are there items you may start putting away to get ready for the month of Ramadan?

3. Start reviewing your Qur’aan (in salah): what new surahs did you learn last year, the year before? Do you still remember some/one of them? Start now and commit to refreshing your surahs so that by the time Ramadan arrives you are ready to recite the beautiful book of AllahSWT IA. Create a chart with your family members to track daily/weekly progress IA. Integrate your learning into your salah and just see how your memorization starts to take off IA.

4. What about making a ‘githir jar’ to help build your Arabic vocabulary and understanding of the Qur’aan over the summer; decorate an old glass jar and add to it ‘root’ (githir) words in Arabic (with the definition on the back) and/or frequently appearing words. Extra points for those who teach a word to another family/friend as well IA.

5. Do you have a favorite qari? How many different qurra have you heard? Do you have a favorite? What about a second favorite?  Are the recordings readily accessible? Do you know anything about the qari? From where s/he came? Studied? Listen, listen, but also make sure you take time to hear your own voice. Sometimes prolonged listening gives young (and old) learners alike a sense that they may know the surah, but they may simply be following along. Integrating the surahs into salah, as noted above, is a great way to ensure that the surahs are actually retained.

6. What are you planning for Eid gifts? What about writing out your favorite verses from the Qur’aan (in Arabic) and framing them (or laminating them and making bookmarks) and giving them as Eid gifts, or even pre-Ramadan gifts to help get friends and family in the spirit of Ramadan?

7. How about a little (healthy) Qur’aan competition among family members? Have you ever recited with your cousins? Your grandmother? Your father? Who knows the most? Who tries the most? Who has the most beautiful tarteel? Who has the most refined tajweed? One of our favorite games is ‘rapid fire’. An ayah is recited and the others have to say the next ayah together with the name of the surah. Remember ‘As’ are always given for extra efforts. There are really only winners in these fun, family-based competitions.

8. How’s your sequencing? Are you able to recite the surah names/titles in their proper sequence, starting with Al Fatihah? How about just the titles in one juz a month? Or how about simply starting with Juz Amma and trying to perfect that sequence before Ramadan? There are countless ways to make this activity fun, including hop scotch. Use your imagination to make sequencing fun. Add and subtract surahs. What surah is 3 more than Surah An Naba?

The most important elements are to inculcate love and lasting learning, and reverence for the Holy Qur’aan. Once we open our hearts to this great book and the transformative month of Ramadan, the possibilities are endless IA. Happy learning, and happy Ramadan preparation IA!

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