Why I needed a group?
Just over five years ago, with no big plans, only a simple intention, I started a Quran group with my friends. This was mainly to maintain a daily relationship with the Quran, which I had somehow lost with the demands of a baby in my life. As my daughter turned one and I started to miss my old Quran routine, I felt I should evaluate my reality as a mother and be realistic with my desire to connect with the Quran again in a meaningful way. I realised it couldn’t be something that consisted of pages and pages a day but I still needed it to have a positive impact on my heart, helping me to engage it with Allah’s words.
The nitty-gritty details:
It was very simple, I set up a group on WhatsApp, with some friends who had agreed to be part of it. An article on Productive Muslim initially inspired me, and although that’s where I got the idea, our group developed into something very different and works at a much slower pace. We started on day one with surah al Fatihah and the first five verses of Surah Al Baqarah. The idea was and still is, that alongside reciting the Arabic from the Quran (I place big emphasis in my group that they make an effort to recite from their actual mus’haf and not an app – to encourage staying in wudhu, to hold and touch Allah’s words, to create an environment for their heart), we all HAD to read the same verses in English too. This was the key to keeping that daily connection with Allah alive.
On day two, we did verses 6-10 of surah al Baqarah and on day three, we recited verses 11-15. When someone completed the daily verses, they put two thumbs-ups on the group to show that its been done. There are two thumbs-up because we make a point of including the translation. I took the role of admin and update the group every day with the verses that need reciting. See pic below for example:
As mothers, with very young children and babies, Quran studies takes a back seat, which then leaves a void in the heart of the mother who wants to love her Rabb through His words but her duties of motherhood overwhelm her. We often start to feel rubbish about ourselves, carry guilt of not being good enough or simply feel like we don’t try. We don’t have to feel like this and we shouldn’t give up either, what I really want to highlight through sharing my story, is that it is possible to recite daily, as a mother, with extra responsibilities, its just about knowing how to.
The beginning of Gilded Dunya
The system of five verses daily worked so well – so well that just after four months of starting it, I wrote my first ever blog post! The very reason I started my blog was so I could share this story with others, so they could know how beautifully it became part of not only my life but in the life of my friends. These friends are girls I met 25 years ago, when we started secondary school. We go back a long way, but we haven’t all been close friends for all of the 25 years, but five years ago, we were now in the full swing of adulthood, with demanding jobs, families and motherhood. These five verses seemed to be working.
Some of us in the group had an already established relationship with the Quran, some of us not so much, but this offered something special for all of us. Two and a half years after we started the group, we completed the recitation of the Quran in the month of Ramadan in 2016. During this time, there were times when we increased the number of verses we recited daily, but never a day went, where we paused or stopped. We have had pregnancies, births and sorrow throughout this time, but consistently stuck to our five verses a day.
On days, where one of us isn’t praying, we make a note of where we are at, and then catch up when we are back to praying. (Please note, I understand and appreciate there are difference of opinions in this matter, if you set up a group, please follow the ruling you adhere to).
Acquainting the heart:
As I write this, we are currently reciting surah An Naba from juz 30 – which means we are just a juz away from completing our recitation for the second time, inshaAllah. This also means, we are for the second time, reading the translation of the Quran cover to cover – although this doesn’t seem like a very big achievement, in my eyes, it is probably one of the most important tasks my soul has encountered. It is because of this I have spent so much more time with the Quran. I consciously make time for the translation, seeking different versions in English. I have marked and re-marked verses that have offered me comfort, ease and guidance – all in the chaos of being a mother and in the painful journey of living with a chronic disease (but more on that another time!)
As we reach the end, my heart feels this excitement it can’t describe, I think it is an excitement we feel when there is immense hope in our lives, in this case, hope that Allah accepts this from us in His Mercy and allows it to count heavily in our scales. It doesn’t seem right to flaunt this, this little thing we’ve done for our souls, to please Him – and I make dua it doesn’t come across as boasting – all I want it to be is motivation, an example, an insight into what is possible when a daily commitment is made.
I think its for everyone
It is very possible, for you, for your family, your friends to do what we did. The “success” of it doesn’t lie with any of us, it lies with Allah, He opens the doors for us, when we make intentions to make things happen. The words of the Quran won’t automatically pour into our hearts (even though I make this dua – hopeful soul and all) – but like all other things we want to do and reach for, we have to make that commitment. Five verses a day, in the big scheme of things is not a lot. It doesn’t eat away at our day or niggle at our minds as a burden – it is so small a challenge that it soon becomes part of our every day living. There have been days when I start my day with the five verses, and there have been days where I end my days with them. There are days where I sit with tafsir books after reading something that has interested me extra. Yet there are other days where I just about recite the verses and read the translation a few hours later – because I simply don’t have the time to spend 20 minutes trying to journal my reflections. It is because of this system in my life, that I often find myself opening a mus’haf in a masjid, or carrying my tiny travel mus’haf with me in my bag, opening to the page of the five verses I need to recite for that day, it is because of this group I have set focus with the Quran, something I know I could easily forget or ignore otherwise.
Most importantly, even though, me and my friends recite the same verses every day, read the English of the same verses every day, we all take from it differently, because even as mothers, even as eight women who share the same ethnicity, we are all very different inside, so therefore, even with this group commitment, the take home experience of the process in unique for each one of us. For me, that’s what made it beautiful, that we could reflect together if we wanted to, but we could also mark our copies of translation, tab our mus’haf and really fall into the depths of Quran love the way we wanted to, and this group was the means of that happening.
Try it! It could be the one thing your heart has been missing.
“Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world. But the good righteous deeds, that last, are better with your Lord for rewards and better in respect of hope.” (18:46)
A kind request, please do not send messages asking to join the group, it is a private one with friends. The reason I have shared the above, is to motivate others to start their own. JazakumAllahu khair.