(I feel I ought to apologise for the shoddy photography - it was late, my camera committed suicide and I was too far from my usual workplace to obtain a professional look. But, it's me and well, you-know-me.)
In Islamic tradition a Muslim needs to 'gather themselves', to phase out of the material and into a realm of religious aura, to be mentally ready to read Qur'an, the Word of God. The physical preparations go without saying: wudhu, a studious environment, smart clothing and a distraction-free Qur'an-zone (your garden).
But, now that the Glorious Qur'an is in your hands, what do you do with it? Where do you start and how do you stop?
green is for Arabic, blue for law and red for the shorter important quotes or "mind-mapping" diagrams.
By creating a purpose-built Qur'an guide it's easier to study each chapter (surah) . Like any university assignment, a project book allows space for messy research, to link themes and writing focused questions to be answered later by Allah. In due time, your writing becomes more compact, jotting down only key verses or Arabic linguistics that friends can discuss at the next halaqah (studious gathering).
I have a method of SMT: Studying, Memorising, Teaching. I will read a Qur'an chapter as many times as possible to understand it word for word in Arabic and English. I then make detailed notes (also color-co-ordinated) following The Tafsir scholars: Ibn Kathir, Ibn Abbas and classical Arabic teachers. And once I'm equipped and have permission (ijazah) I teach little people the basics of that chapter. A triple session through each verse therefore drives home the message and meaning of Allah's words.
making notes in an English Qur'an translation but I am fairly kind to my Hajj copy of the Qur'an (thanking you king Abdullah). Making notes in pencil along the margin reminds me of a correlating ayat (verse) from another page and I will often mark the differences in script (Hafs, Warsh, Uthmani etc). Usually, underlining a word is enough to recall a favourite Qari's thundering or melodic recitation.
I also marked all 14 places that require a Muslim to prostrate on recitation (from the top, not shown), and highlighted prophetic prayers which I can show a newbie Muslim. Sorted.
Analysing Surah Nasr, Victory. Don't judge me, I was 17
Oh, one more thing. In my original Qur'an tafsir notebook I collected all appropriate research before commencing dedicated study. (Dedicated-ish). This means that even if your notes aren't in order, they're not scattered. Print out the list of Qur'an chapters (suwar) to tick off as you analyse them each.
Practicing is your greatest tool therefore whatever your aim - memorisation, high quality tajweed or scholarly interpretation, do not give up. Be consistent, begin with the earliest tafsir, read the Qur'an every single day and get your studies checked by a qualified teacher.
Zaufishan | spreading light
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