Think. Learn. Act. Remind.
I remember the excitement I felt when I prayed the fajr salah during Ramadan as a 10-year-old. You know, the excitement-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach kind of thing. The air is peculiarly fresh at that time of day, there is a refreshing stillness, a calm, that quickly dissipates with the break of dawn. But although that is typical for any fajr prayer, the excitement is always greater in Ramadan. Yet, it had still been a while since I had experienced such a feeling at fajr. Being a mother of small children is not easy and fajr time becomes difficult to enjoy.
But recently I discovered that I still have it in me to feel that kind of excitement not just at fajr but during other salahs as well … It was strange because that was not what I had started out to achieve …
As a stay-at-home mom, one is always short on time. For a long time I had been meaning to include regular reading and learning of the Quran in my schedule but the unpredictability of my day prevented it from happening.
Then one day I learned to accept my limitations and decided to do something that I COULD manage: play Quran in my car whenever I went anywhere (near or far) …. I figured that if one can learn hundreds of songs just by listening to them over and over again, one could just as easily memorize parts of the Quran (if not more) simply by listening to it again and again.
I got myself CDs of my favorite reciter (Mishary Rashid Alafasy) and started playing selected surahs from the shortest (surahs in Juz Amma) to the longer ones (Surah Yasin, Surah Kahf, Surah Rahman, Surah Mulk, etc).
Within a few weeks I knew many parts of many surahs including the longer ones that I had never learned before (e.g. Surah Mulk).
And when I stood up and recited these surahs in salah, I found myself concentrating better (since I was still learning the Surah) and started feeling excited about reciting the longer surahs. My salah transformed from an unexciting routine to something meaningful, something exciting! It was great!
Here are some things every one of us stay-at-home moms can do to improve our salah and establish or renew our relationship with the Quran (you can try doing one or more of the following):
1) Choose a reciter whose Quranic recitation you enjoy and get their audio CDs or download the mp3 of the recitation onto your computer.
Play the mp3 or CDs in the background as you drive to work or fold the laundry. Try and recite along with the reciter as soon as you start learning the verses. Reciting out loud is better whenever possible.
This way your children will learn to see recitation of the Quran as something important and may even start to memorize the surahs!
2) Pick a longer Surah to recite during salah instead of your usual small ones. You will find yourself concentrating better and your salah will come alive! Don’t wait to memorize the entire Surah … Three verses are enough to start reciting it in salah.
3) Try and read the Arabic of the Surah whenever you can … Once a week is fine … Just so that you know the words … You will remember the Surah better when you have visual memory to aid you as well.
4) Of course, learning the meanings of the words (or even just selected words, e.g. Takathur means competing for the acquisition of worldly things) will be very helpful in remembering what the Surah is about. That will help you remember the Surah better and it will help bring more meaning to your salah.
There are many online Quranic Arabic-English dictionaries available for free that you can use:
Try this one
5) Try and play tafseer lectures … My favorite ones are Bayyinah’s tafseer podcasts (available for free download) … Make an effort to begin with the Juz Amma (last part of the Quran) since those are the surahs we recite most … These podcasts are available here:
What I like about this tafseer is the focus on conveying the linguistic beauty of the Quran by explaining root meanings of words in regular every day English and the explanation of the verses is given in a clear, concise and practical way … Something modern Muslims will find appealing because they will find relevant and practical examples for their every day life.
Let us pray to Allah to make this sincere effort easy for us. Ameen.