Between Dusk and Dawn…

Some *scribble* *scribble* by Ameera

Monthly Archives: November 2009

Raising Scholars of Tomorrow

I don’t exactly remember when I came across his video first on YouTube but when I happened to see it after a long while again this Thursday night, it shook me. Really, I cannot describe with adequate words how I felt listening to him, watching him. He must be hardly eight in the video, young Hassan bin Abdullah Al Awadh, but his voice moves the heart.

So there I was at 1 am listening to him over and over and over again. Then I downloaded the audio into my iPod and listened to him before bed, the next morning, during my evening walk, when I got angry over something, on my way to back from college… you get the picture. By now, I’m sure I’ve gone on enough of a ramble to really stretch your patience.

(Translation of the recited verses available here:

Who’s young Hassan then? A young boy who’s recited the initial verses of Surah Ya Seen in a video on YouTube, son of an Imam of a masjid in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. When they first put his video on YouTube, I don’t think they had an idea how would much people would love it… that it would trigger off a sharing spree. People ask if he has a CD out. The more inquisitive minds want to know who he is. Where does he live? Who taught him?

The Quran is not an ordinary book, it is the Word of Allah(swt) and when recited, especially by a Qari with an exquisite voice, it is difficult to stay dry-eyed. The eyes automatically well up with tears, a fluttery sensation fills the heart and you know it is not something any man could put forward. If you can understand Arabic to any extent, it carries massive weight and immediately affects you, feeling as if there’s no-one else around… just you and your Lord. The words have direct impact, anger and sadness subsides, leaving an intense motivation to get up, make something of yourself and please Allah(swt) the way he wants you to!

Watching and listening to Hassan made me wonder about so many things. The powerful words of Surah Ya Seen were themselves enough to prompt self analysis. However, it also made me wonder about the reciter himself, whom Allah(swt) has blessed with such a beautiful voice. It is evident that he is in the constant company of the best reciters, who’ve taught him so well MashAllah. I also thought about the kind of environment he must have at home that he’s reciting with all the intricate rules of Tajweed at an age so tender. His mother, what an amazing woman she must be to have raised such a sweet child, MashAllah! What lessons did she teach him, setting the solid foundation for a soul that seeks to purify itself? Really, the beautiful tones in which this child recites indicates all these things about his life – his inner self literally shines through… that’s how it is with reciting the Quran with a sincere heart.

I also wondered about his future. I hope and pray he becomes a scholar of Islam through the magnificent talents that he has, that Allah(swt) has made known to us about him. We need these young children to grow up in Islam, nurtured by sincere and upright Muslim families, to become the leaders of tomorrow. Confident in their faith, trusting in Allah(swt), drawing closer to Him through His Words… that is the process of purification that produces strong believers.

Hassan has recited other portions of the Quran and a small handful of videos of him during a visit to Bosnia in 2007 show him to be about twelve or thirteen years old. His voice has matured slightly with age, lowering in pitch, but of course that does not reduce the beauty of the recitation in any way. In fact, it made me so happy to know he’s reciting and will possibly come forward as a well known Qari as he grows older InshAllah. Based on his videos, he seems like a modest young boy, nonetheless confident… a mark of a person well grounded in faith, may Allah add strength to it! Only those with strong faith can remain modest and shy while so much attention is turned towards him but the Shaitan is always at play and thus, I pray for Hassan sincerely.

I’ve learned so much from Hassan just listening to him recite those verses full of meaning. I’ve also learned about the importance of giving children the right upbringing and the massive benefits of doing that. Hassan proves you can become very knowledgeable in the Quran even at a young age. Very frankly, if I ever have a son, I’d be greatly blessed in so many ways if I could teach him, guide him, inspire him to be like the cute little boy who moved my heart with his sweet voice. Alhumdolillah, I have Hassan’s example right before me to inspire and motivate my own self for something so crucial and so rewarding.


The Weeding’s Overdue!

(Yes, that’s weeding, not a typo or anything. :P)

I haven’t blogged in a while but I’m glad I didn’t because then I’d be writing about something without really meaning it or feeling I’d something worthwhile to share. I’d been loaded with lots of assignments recently, mostly related to college, that put me through an exponential learning curve. It was really hectic and seemingly difficult but Alhumdolillah, that phase passed away too.

One project I was involved with required teamwork and it spanned several months. Being the “leader” or “representative” of my group in college, I found myself facing situations and challenges that were very new and even daunting. Making decisions, deciding on the quality of work needed, identifying specific talents in people and then ensuring that work gets done within the deadline… it’s certainly not a piece of cake. With eleven young women working together, there are bound to be issues. Meanwhile, I was also juggling another assignment not related to college but which also involved teamwork. Finally, one or two other issues also cropped up making a tough week where everything converged.

However, one thing I was very aware of was that I was learning so much from all my good and not-so-good experiences. There were lessons in leadership, interpersonal relationships, patience (that was a big one!), tolerance, empathy, counselling and time management, to name a few. How to get along with different people coming from different backgrounds. How to overlook someone’s irritating habits and respond nicely, keeping the longer term in mind. How to deal with problems that friends may be having, medical or otherwise.

However, I also noted the glaring faults in my character and personality that I need to fix, no matter what. As a friend, as a daughter, as a sister, as a leader… as my own self… there’s a lot to do. So even though I had a tough week to handle and various stresses on my mind, I was satisfied I was learning about myself and about others that would InshAllah train me for the future.

In all of this, even if I did something right and got good results, I was aware that it was superficial and needed real substance as its foundation. If I didn’t feel happy about my own self, my personality and character, any praise I received from others on anything did not bring in total satisfaction. Why was I rude to that person? Why did I have to snap? How should I learn to control my temper and frowns, at home and at college? Why do I think negatively of that person? How should I improve my relationships, as a daughter? What am I doing wrong in my relationships with other people?

I was thinking about this a lot and in the process of identifying my weaknesses when I heard Stephen Covey’s famous book mentioned on TV. The person on TV was basically summarizing the book. For those of who don’t know, Stephen Covey is the author of a best selling book on changing yourself inside-out, working on your own self to take on the habits of people who’re achievers and not moaners and groaners. He talks about seven habits that are common to successful people, based on age-old principles of honesty, integrity, being optimistic, loving others and kindness. I’d always wanted to read that book, having heard it being quoted by several teachers at my Quran class and elsewhere. Turns out we had that book at home and I fished it out, sat down to read and did fifty pages before bed!

The book really is very, very good. It’s inspiring, full of common wisdom and it’s in the first person, directly addressing the reader. Why don’t I get along with people? Why do my plans fail? Why doesn’t my sister listen to me? Why can’t I achieve my goals? As you read the book, it really is amazing how the lessons in the Quran and Sunnah are essentially being described by Stephen Covey, of course without his knowing it. But then, that’s what he says, in similar words, that the things he mentions in his book are solid principles which man has always known in some form or the other. We’ve just stopped living by them and instead opted for “quick fixes” to all our problems, not realizing relationships are built over a long period and habits need to change fundamentally deep within us to have lasting impact.

The book’s made an impression on me, particularly at a time where I was already looking for change that has meaning and not just being all nice superficially. People who really come closer to Allah through the Quran and learning from the Prophet(pbuh)’s life, change so much for the better… everyone can see it for themselves. That’s why I need to improve, to really practice what I learn and not just hold up a degree from a Qur’an course and say “I’ve done it!”. Real change demands application, without which only knowing stuff is just not enough. Yes, the weeding is certainly overdue and it’s making the garden patch very unsightly even though there are a couple of good plants in there. 🙂

Time will tell what changes come about InshAllah. 🙂

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