Monthly Archives: July 2013

Chapter 15: Mudood in I’tikaf

Immediately following is a chapter from ‘Ya Sin, Towards the Heart of the Qur’aan,’ a recently completed story by Umm Muhemmed, which follows from ‘A Qur’aanic Odyssey, Towards Juz Amma’. ‘Ya Sin’ narrates the family’s ongoing journey through the Qur’aan with a focus on Surah Ya Sin, the surah they set out to learn following completion of Juz Amma, throughout the month of Ramadan.  Although each of the chapters are connected, each one may be read as a stand-alone text as well.

Setting: Tuesday morning, home, outside, Ramadhan
Characters: Khadija, Ibrahim, Amna

“So I was thinking I might bring Pinocchio with me,” says Ibrahim.

“What?” I respond, looking up.

“Pinecone…coke…ia,” repeats Amna, assuming I haven’t heard properly.

“Ibrahim, you cannot bring Pinocchio into i’tikaf,” I assert, having heard everything.[1] I am seated outside with the children, who are busy with a small sandbox that Abdurrahman and I assembled over the weekend. Ibrahim is making racing tracks for his small, toy camels, while Amna is enjoying sifting the sand with some of my kitchen utensils that she’s allegedly ‘borrowed’. I have my stack of work papers nearby, but once again am flummoxed with how to make headway, while fasting and taking care of the children.

“Well, then what about The Little Prince? He’s not as mis…chie…vous as Pinocchio,” says Ibrahim slowly. If memory serves me correctly, I taught Ibrahim that word after the third chapter, when we read how the little marionette had started laughing and making fun of Geppetto.[2]

“Ibrahim, not in i’tikaf, baita,” I reassert.

Stuart Little? Peter Rabbit? Charlotte’s Web? The Jungle Book,” he says, reeling off the titles of recent books we’ve either read or planned to read.

“Ibrahim, not in i’tikaf,” I maintain.

“Our pet snail?” says Amna, pointing to the snail they trapped yesterday in the garden, after they found it eating the tomatoes. Presently, ‘Sail’ the snail inhabits a shoebox, replete with lots of tomato leaves, and some mint that the children insisted he would like. I wonder about the diet and the longevity but have succumbed to their desire to keep a pet, particularly if it keeps larger, more complex pets like cats and rabbits, about which they also have been asking, at bay.

Baita, I suppose you could bring Sail, but it’s sort of missing the point,” I explain.

“Ammi, you said we’re supposed to ‘reflect on God’s creation’; those were your words. Sail is part of God’s creation,” says Ibrahim, standing up and walking over to check on the shoebox pet, near the back door, which the children insist gives the snail a view of us when we are indoors and helps it not feel lonely.

“Yes, he is, but if you bring Sail into your thirty minutes of i’tikaf you might start to play with him,” I respond, not quite knowing how to make sense of this last question.

“So what’s wrong with playing with him? He would enjoy it,” says Ibrahim.

“He is a girl,” says Amna with emphasis. “And he is all mine,” Amna also gets up and walks over to join her brother at the backdoor.

I anticipate a fight and so get up from where I am seated. As expected, in the seconds that it takes me to reach the children they have already begun pushing each other.

“Mine,” insists Ibrahim, reaching for the shoebox.

“Mine,” responds Amna, pulling the box back.

Within another second, the box is torn in half. The children had made it a moist environment, softening the cardboard considerably; and so whatever force they both just applied was enough to break the box. Sail, affixed to Amna’s side, appears to remain intact.

“See, mine,” says Amna triumphantly, after recognizing that she has the snail side.

“Ammi, we’re going to lose the snail, and, if we do, the black lizards will eat him,” says Ibrahim, as though his fictitious characters are coming alive, and apparently deeply concerned about the fate of his newfound pet.

“It’s ok, baita, we’ll find another shoebox inshaa Allah, remember we still have your Eid shoes packed away in a box, and then of course, I’m sure there will always be more snails,” I try to reassure.

“Sail is different. I don’t want another snail,” says Ibrahim, more attached than I expected. It would appear that some of the lessons of the recently completed Little Prince actually did reach him.[3]

“Well then, let’s hurry up and make another habitat,” I say, trying to be as responsive as possible. “And in the meantime, why don’t we transfer Sail into a glass jar and put some tin foil on top and…”

“He’ll suffocate,” exclaims Ibrahim.

Baita, let me finish. We’ll poke holes in the foil and that will buy us a little time.”

“Then, will you promise to let me take him into i’tikaf?” persists Ibrahim.

“No, not necessarily. I will, however, try to ensure that nothing happens to him, or her,” I say looking at Amna, “while you are in i’tikaf.” Amna responds by handing me her side of the box, along with Sail. I then open the back door and enter inside, with both children trailing me. I rummage around in our recycling box, in the kitchen closet, and finally find an old achar jar, which I think will work as a temporary home. I give the glass jar to Ibrahim, then, while still holding Amna’s box side, find a small piece of tinfoil that was also discarded in the recycling box.

“Can we transfer him here?” asks Ibrahim, eagerly, holding up the glass jar.

“No, all transfers must happen outside,” I say, wanting to limit the indoor science experiments. “Chalyae,” I then add, turning around and heading outdoors again. Amna opens the door for us, intent to help as well.

“So if I can’t bring anything, then what am I supposed to do?” says Ibrahim, following closely by my side and beginning to resign himself to an i’tikaf without Pinocchio or Sail.

“Ibrahim, give me one minute,” I say as I start to pry the snail off the cardboard wall and slide him into the jar that Ibrahim is still holding, “I actually need to concentrate on just one thing at a time, for a minute, and then I may have an answer for you. Meanwhile, I suggest you pick up that tomato leaf on the ground as your friend may be hungry again,” I point to one of the discarded leaves that fell out after the box broke.

Amna is faster than her brother and reaches down for the leaf. “Here baita,” she says pushing the leaf into the jar and talking to the snail. “Now finish your dinner, all of it.”

I can’t help but smile. I hear in Amna my voice, and Abdurrahman’s, her grandmother’s, and amidst the inaneness of keeping a pet snail, this comment touches my heart.

“Now the tinfoil Ammi, with holes,” cautions Ibrahim, who seems still to be concerned with suffocation.

“It’s coming baita,” I reach for one of my pens that I had on the small table where I was trying to work and make a couple of holes in the tinfoil, and affix it to the top. I then put the snail back down in its previous spot.

“So what’s your answer?” asks Ibrahim, not letting another minute go by.

I sit down slowly, trying to refocus. Intuitively, Amna senses a mini lecture and goes back to her sand play.

“Remember the mudood in Surah Yā Sīn?” I say.[4]

“Yes, I do remember,” says Ibrahim with a sigh of exasperation, “you made me find them yesterday, there are fifteen on page two that I have to hold for four to five counts.”[5]

“Well, what did I tell you about them?” I ask. Meanwhile, I observe Amna starting to sieve the camel tracks her brother made and wonder whether this might be the next conflict.

“If we don’t say them, we could change the meaning of the words, and they are also resting spots for us to think and prepare for what’s coming,” says Ibrahim, demonstrating that the lesson did sink in.

“Exactly,” I say.

“So what does that have to do with me not bringing Sail into i’tikaf?” asks Ibrahim.

“Would you consider sitting in the shade for a minute and thinking about the answer to that question,” I propose.

“Is this a punishment?” inquires Ibrahim.

“No, it’s an opportunity, baita, to find the answer on your own; if there’s one thing I want to teach you, it’s how to look for…”

“Ammi, you are trying to teach us a zillion things, not just one thing,” responds Ibrahim. “If it was one thing, it would be easy, but you’re trying to teach us i’tikaf, and how to cut grapes and all those synonym things, and parables,” Ibrahim races through the list. I am stunned that he has remembered the word for ‘synonym’ and ‘parable’, although we are definitely still working on the concepts.

Ibrahim then gets up and starts walking toward a small piece of shade in our backyard, near his tree-climbing tree. I wonder when the tree will also get a name of its own.

“Ammi, is bhai jaan in trouble?” asks Amna, seeing her brother walk away.

“No, he’s thinking,” I respond.

“What’s thinking?” she asks, though I sense she meant ‘what’s he thinking about.’

“I think he is thinking about how he can use his last 10 days of Ramadhan and those extra quiet times I was explaining to you on Sunday called ‘i’tikaf’,” I say.

“I’m not doing more quiet time,” responds Amna defiantly.

“No, baita, you don’t have to. And it’s not like nap time. You don’t need to lie down and sleep. It’s just time to pray and think and remember Allah Subhanahu wa-ta‘ala,” I say, trying to make some sense of i’tikaf for Amna.  

“It’s not dhuhr,” she says.

“No baita, not now, it’s not dhuhr salah now, and i’tikaf is not exactly salah, but it is like that, quiet time to thank Allah Subhanahu wa-ta‘ala and think how we might improve.”

“Improve what?” says Amna, following more than I expected.

“You, not grabbing,” says Ibrahim, who’s back from his thinking moment in the shade. “Ammi, you know, I got it, but next time, don’t send me away like that. It did feel a little like a punishment.”

“It wasn’t intended to be one, baita,” I say, putting my arm around him.  “So I’m all ears, what did you come up with?”

“You’re not all ears,” says Amna, looking at me, and pointing at my nose.

“It’s an expression, Amna,” says Ibrahim, playing the older and wiser brother. “Ok, so the reason why you don’t want me to take Sail into i’tikaf is because you want me to stop and think and wait like we do with those mudood.”

“And?” I say, pressing for more than just Arabic grammar.

“And if I have Sail I will probably get distracted and forget some of my 15 four to five count mudood,” he adds, taking the point more literally but also showing that he’s got some of it. “I do still think it would be fun to have Pinocchio, not the book, but the actual puppet in i’tikaf. I mean I know he’s naughty and all, but sometimes naughty can be fun.”

“I hear you, baita, although I don’t always agree with you. Now, you do realize that I was trying to work here, before we had this extended interruption with your pet, and I am really trying to send off some documents before my own i’tikaf starts,” I say.
“I think you might want to call Nani, she might be able to help with us,” offers Ibrahim.

“I do too,” I say, finally realizing the limits to my concentration and work. “I know she was going to try to study this week, and she may be helping your Abdullah Mamoo out, but I think I’m going to call her.”

“Does that mean Yaseen is coming over?” asks Ibrahim eagerly.

“It may mean that,” I say, looking down at my watch and also realizing that we have another swimming lesson in forty five minutes. “Ok you two, it’s time to start cleaning up,” I say.

“I’m not done,” responds Amna.

Baita, you can come back to this, later, inshaa Allah,” I respond. Then add, “Ibrahim, do you think we can do the morning suwar in the car on the way?”

“I’m really good at reciting on the go,” he says, smiling.

“A little too good, I’d actually like to see you do a little more sitting,” I respond.

“Bo…ring,” Ibrahim sounds out slowly.

“That’s not true. You remember the flying carpet. We were all sitting, with our imaginations, and it was hardly bo…ring, and remember how you had me sit down at the Museum; I don’t think you’d call that boring.[6] I actually challenge you to remember all our exciting sitting recitation activities, later, though. For now, let’s get the camels back in and then….”

“Hey, who destroyed my tracks?” says Ibrahim, finally seeing Amna’s impact.

“Sail,” says Amna, pointing at the glass container.

“No, you, don’t lie,” responds Ibrahim pointing at his sister, then changing his stance, “but it’s ok, because I’m going to make Sail his new home now. I don’t really care about those baby camels anymore.”

“I do,” says Amna, holding up the camels tenderly.

“So do I,” I say, patting Amna gently on the back and opening up the back door. “And I care about you, and getting to your swimming class, now let’s go get changed.”

“What about Sail?” asks Ibrahim.

“I think he and the camels, and Pinocchio, and The Little Prince, and Stuart Little, and even Charlotte’s Web, will do just fine without us for a couple hours; remember Allah Subhanahu wa-ta‘ala is watching them all,” I say, trying to put an end to this discussion.

“You forgot The Jungle Book,” says Ibrahim, following closely, and getting in the last word. He smiles broadly at me and races inside the house, presumably to look for the other shoebox, before we leave.

[1] The reader may wish to refer to Chapter 14, ‘For Swimming,’ (footnote 73) for a description of i’tikaf, including partial i’tikaf that may be undertaken, especially by children.

[2] Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi was first published as a complete novel in Italian, in 1882, with individual chapters published prior to that date in a Rome-based newspaper in the children’s section. The reference above is to the Penguin Classics edition (1996, p.13). See also The Little Prince by Saint-Exupery, first published in 1943, in French (1995).

[3] After sighting five thousand roses in a garden on earth, the Little Prince reflects on his lone rose on his planet and says the following, “You are beautiful, but you are empty…one could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you—the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen…because she is my rose,” (Saint Exupery, p.82).

[4] As explained in A Qur’aanic Odyssey, Towards Juz Amma, footnote 4, Chapter 34, ‘The Moths’, mudood (plural of madd) is the Arabic grammar terminology referring to the elongation of a letter. The term was first introduced in Chapter 15, ‘From Milk Bottles to Vases, at Asr,’ which also highlighted recycled objects being reused by the family. It should be noted that A Qur’aanic Odyssey, while referencing several grammar exercises and texts (including Towards Reading the Qur’an, Part One and Two), does not provide comprehensive grammar lessons and that the science of tajweed, including the complexity of mudood, should be undertaken with a qualified instructor.

[5] See footnote 1, Chapter 1, ‘The End’ in Yā Sīn, Towards the Heart of the Qur’aan which refers to the fact that the family is primarily using a 15 line Uthmani script mushaf for its hifdh work.

[6] Chapter 22, ‘A Carpet,’ of A Qur’aanic Odyssey, Towards Juz Amma describes a scene where the children, accompanied by Khadija and Nani prepare to ‘fly’ to Doha and back, while seated on their prayer mats, aka flying carpets, and recite Surah Al Qadr (pp.76-79). Chapter 34, ‘Moths’, concludes with Ibrahim and Khadija sitting on a bench at the Houston Museum of Natural Science and reciting (Ibid, p.131-133).

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Chapter 13: School at Sehri

Immediately following is a chapter from ‘Ya Sin, Towards the Heart of the Qur’aan,’ a recently completed story by Umm Muhemmed, which follows from ‘A Qur’aanic Odyssey, Towards Juz Amma’. ‘Ya Sin’ narrates the family’s ongoing journey through the Qur’aan with a focus on Surah Ya Sin, the surah they set out to learn following completion of Juz Amma, throughout the month of Ramadan.  Although each of the chapters are connected, each one may be read as a stand-alone text as well.

Setting: early Sunday morning, home
Characters: Khadija, Abdurrahman, Ibrahim

“Do you really think we should wake him?” I whisper to Abdurrahman, who is standing with me in the doorway of the children’s room. The back hall light is on, but, other than a couple of night lights, the house is completely dark. “He slept so late last night, after all those questions….”

“Khadija, you promised your son you would wake him up,” reminds Abdurrahman.

“I know Janu, but his first full day fast was difficult,” I respond.

“From what I remember, his first full day fast was fun, for him, and us, and inshaa Allah his next one will be even more fun,” says Abdurrahman.

“Just remember, if he only makes it half way, that’s ok,” I say looking at Abdurrahman for his buy-in. “And you do realize that your mother called twice yesterday to check up on him and see if he had recovered from Friday.”

Inshaa Allah he will be fine, and yes, if he wants to break his fast at noon, he and you have my blessings, but let’s keep our word and wake him…quickly now, the clock really is ticking,” says Abdurrahman, looking down at his watch and then turning around. He heads downstairs, as he promised Ibrahim he would make him eggs and toast.

Meanwhile, I tiptoe into the children’s room, in an effort not to wake Amna up. I approach Ibrahim’s bed, which is less than three feet from Amna’s, bend over and whisper in his ear. “Assalaamu’alaykum baita, it’s time to wake for sehri; quickly now, we don’t have much time.” Then quietly, I add, “Alhumdulillah-hillathee ah-yana ba’da maa amaa tanaa wa ilayhni nushoor.”[1]

“Ammi,” says Ibrahim, “did I miss anything?”

“No, alhumdulilah, you’re ahead of the game. You even have time to make wudu and pray tahajjud if you wish,” I say, “but quick…” then I stop myself, before saying anything more, not wanting to rush him too much.

“Ammi, will you help me do my wudu?” asks Ibrahim–a question I don’t think I’ve ever heard him ask before. When Abdurrahman and I showed him the steps, he asked for clarification, and since then we’ve both offered further correction, but I can’t recall him asking me to help him per se.

Bilcul baita,” I respond, “Neend aa rahi hae kiya?”[2]

Jee haan,” says Ibrahim, standing up slowly and leaning against me. I take his hand and walk him to the restroom where I assist him with all the requisite steps. Slowly, after washing his face, he becomes more alert.

Tahajjud?” I then ask.

“Yes, but can I use baby suwar?” responds Ibrahim.

Baita, there are no ‘baby suwar’ in the Qur’aan; short ones, yes, but no babies, and remember the short ones are significant too.”

“Well, I sometimes feel with hifdh that when I use the short ones I’m cheating,” says Ibrahim.

“I know what you mean, but not ‘cheating,’ just taking the easier route,” I say. “Maybe give yourself an easy pass now, and then when you’re all energized after eating the breakfast your father is making for you, you can use Yā Sīn in your fajr?” I suggest.

“It’s a deal,” says Ibrahim, walking over to the small prayer mat that we generally leave out in the children’s room. “So I’m using Surah Al Asr and Ikhlaas,” says Ibrahim, looking to me for approval.[3]

I nod, and pause briefly, watching Ibrahim, then realize I also need to offer my tahajjud. Rather than going back to the prayer mat in our room, I decide to stand next to Ibrahim and offer my salah with him. These are rare moments, very rare moments, and the heart tells me to savor all of them.

As I am starting, Ibrahim appears to be finishing. He pauses at the end and sits down, then, as if remembering his father, and the sehri routine, stands up and makes his way downstairs. I hear him on the stairwell and then try to block out all the noises and smells, including what may be burnt toast.

“Papa,” says Ibrahim in between the banisters on the stairwell. “Did you make my eggs?”

“Yes sir, but I thought you only wanted half of one?” responds Abdurrahman.

“Papa, you’re not serious. We’re fasting all day. Nonna doesn’t want me to go hungry,” says Ibrahim, approaching his father, with a look of concern.

“Don’t worry bambino, I was just teasing you. Inshaa Allah as long as I live you will never go hungry. Look here, one egg, two egg, three egg, four…” says Abdurrahman, holding out two frying pans, to reassure his son.

“Papa, you sound like a tired Dr Seuss,” says Ibrahim.

“These are not green eggs, and I only serve halal sausage, no ham,” says Abdurrahman, not missing a beat.[4]

Ibrahim smiles at his father.

“Papa, why are you still in your pajamas?” asks Ibrahim, looking at the blue and white striped pajamas that he rarely sees his father wear.

“Why are you still in your pajamas?” says Abdurrahman, returning the question.

“I just woke up,” says Ibrahim.

“Well so did I, bambino, and after praying and encouraging your mother to wake you up, do you know what the next thing I did was?”

“You recited Yā Sīn?” asks Ibrahim.

“No, that’s after fajr, inshaa Allah…so your doting father came down here to make you breakfast, just like you asked. I did not change my clothes…nor do I intend to, since it’s Sunday, and I get a…”

“Break,” I say, from the stairwell, where I have been watching father and son, unobserved, for the last minute.

“Thank you, yes, a break, alhumdulilah. No running to office early this morning,” says Abdurrahman. “And no office clothes, today.”

I let my mind wander momentarily and think about going to ‘the office’ and how it might be a welcome respite from home-based work.

“Ok, so who’s ready for sehri?” asks Abdurrahman.

“Papa, I’m not exactly hungry,” responds Ibrahim.

“It’s ok baita, just try to put something in your stomach, and drink some water,” I say, walking over to the sink and filling a pitcher. “You know, the best thing would be if you could eat a date.”

“Wait a minute,” interjects Abdurrahman, “a minute ago you were whining because you thought I only made you half an egg, so which is it? Now, before you spend too much time thinking, just roll the clock forward five hours and then imagine that appetite of yours,” he says.

“Ok, I’m hungry five hours from now,” says Ibrahim.

“Then, per favore, sit down and dine with me,” says Abdurrahman, pulling out a chair with a grand gesture.

Abdurrahman and Ibrahim sit as I ready cereal and dried fruits and nuts behind the counter. Eggs and toast don’t work that well for me, at least not as I’ve grown older.

“Papa, the thing I still don’t understand,” says Ibrahim between mouthfuls, “is what happens when the imam skips a line in taraweeh.”

“And the thing I don’t understand is how you never run out of questions and how you always remember almost everything except exactly what your mother needs you to do at that particular moment,” says Abdurrahman, looking up and smiling at me.

“That’s not fair, I always do what Ammi asks, almost always,” says Ibrahim, starting to pout.

“Ok, so…the imam, right?” I say, returning us to Ibrahim’s question that he first asked several days ago. “From what I know, skipping an ayah is fairly common, and there is always at least one person following along with a mushaf who may prompt him,” I explain.

“Last night he skipped another ayah,” says Ibrahim.

“Well, it was a different imam. This could have been his first. And what about us? Don’t we do the same?” says Abdurrahman, also stopping between mouthfuls.

“But we’re not the imam,” responds Ibrahim.

“No, but we are all human,” I say. “Remember how much difficulty we had with all the different mursaleens and mursaloons yesterday,” recalling the second page of Surah Yā Sīn on which we were working. “Even after we talked through the parable, listened to Sheikh Husri, and wrote down the words.”[5]

“But we’re not the imam,” Ibrahim repeats.

“Point taken, bambino, but your mother’s point is valid too. In essence, we are all students of the deen, and true students never stop learning.”

“And making mistakes,” says Ibrahim.

“And learning,” Abdurrahman repeats.

“Humility,” I add.

“Hafidha Rabia wouldn’t have made a mistake,” counters Ibrahim.

“Perhaps, baita, but we don’t know. The goal is to strive for excellence, always, but not judge another on his or her mistake, and if we do observe or make a mistake, to correct it in the most ahsan way possible. Remember last night at the masgid?” I say looking at Ibrahim and not needing to say anything more.

“Yes,” says Ibrahim, nodding his head, clearly remembering everything. “So you won’t judge me on confusing  the mursaloons?”

“Judge you, no, absolutely not, but I will try to teach you, and, after Ramadhan, I am sure Hafidha Rabia will help to educate us all, and give us tips for keeping the terms straight,” I say.

“Khadija, you do realize sehri time is almost over, and you really need to put a pause on your sehri school this morning,” says Abdurrahman, looking down at his watch in his customary way and providing a reality check.[6]

“Oh goodness, baita, time to stop the questions for now, please, I need to finish my cereal. Maybe, you and your father could keep the discussion going after fajr,” I propose.

“Ammi, we’re reciting Surah Yā Sīn after fajr. How could you forget, and you have to hold the mushaf this time,” insists Ibrahim.

“Those are tall orders, but ‘roger that’,” I say, saluting Ibrahim in a playful way. “Abdurrahman, can you take him up, and I’ll finish down here,” I suggest.

“We’re on it Lieutenant, and, by the way, let’s not worry about the clean-up now, ok? We’re striving for excellence, but let’s clean up after fajr,” says Abdurrahman.

“After Yā Sīn,” Ibrahim says, taking his father’s hand and leading him upstairs.

[1] Translated as, “Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah) is to Him,” (as excerpted from Allamah Muhammad Al-Jazri’s Al-Hisnul Hasin, and  translated by Muhammad Rafeeq Ibne Moulana Ahmed Hathurani, p.76).

[2]Neend aa rahi hae kiya” may be translated as ‘You feel sleepy?’; the text incorporates words from Urdu, Arabic, Italian, and Spanish, among other languages. Single foreign words may be found in the glossary, although in many cases their meaning may be deduced from the context; the author has, however, attempted to provide translations of any longer expressions in the footnotes to facilitate comprehension and reading.

[3] Length is not an indicator of the significance of suwar. All are revelation and carry lessons. Many of the shorter suwar, including Surah Al Ikhlaas, were actively used in prayer by Prophet Muhemmed SAW, who said the following, “Is any of you incapable of reciting a third of the Qur’an in a night?…Recite al Ikhlas, ‘for [by the One in whose hands is my life], it is equivalent to [reading] a third of the Qur’an,” as narrated by Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (Bukhari, Muslim Hadith Collections). It is not, however, simply, a question of including the surah in salah, but also our relationship with it. As reported by Anas, ‘Your love for it will admit you into Paradise,’ [Prophet Muhemmed SAW] said to a man who loved Ikhlas (Tirmidhi and Bukhari Hadith Collections).

[4] Green Eggs and Ham (Dr Seuss 1960).   As excerpted from this classic children’s poem: “Sam I am, I am Sam, I am Sam, Sam I am. I would not like them here or there. I would not like them anywhere. I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them Sam I Am…”

[5] As excerpted from footnote 3 of Chapter 19, ‘Why is My Name?’, from A Qur’aanic Odyssey, Towards Juz Amma, “Sheikh Mahmoud Khalil Husri (also spelled Husary and Husari), b.1917, d.1980, was a world renowned qari, and his recordings continue to be in wide circulation, especially amongst aspiring huffadh,” (p.66). He is known for his impeccable tarteel and tajweed. The ayaat of Yā Sīn to which Khadija is referring are 13, 14, 16 and 20, which refer to ‘messengers’, ‘two messengers,’ ‘a mission’ and ‘the messengers’—all with the same Arabic root (ل,س,ر) but differing slightly in meaning.

[6] Although not fard, during Ramadhan (nor other nafl fasts), eating sehri (i.e. the taking of food just before dawn) was the sunnah of Prophet Muhemmed SAW. A range of different foods are recommended, among them dried dates, which are high fiber complex carbohydrates, as highlighted in the discussion above. Fried eggs and toast (or, paratas, or any of Dr Seuss’ concoctions) are less recommended, due to the way that the food is digested during the fast, but are still widely enjoyed.


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