Quran Focus Academy Blog

Oldest pieces of the Quran discovered

The oldest excerpts from the Quran have been discovered in the cellars of the Yemeni capital Sanaa’s Great Mosque, daily Bugün has reported, adding that former Turkish Religious Affairs Director Tayyar Altıkulaç has gone to examine the pieces.

The Quran pieces have been found in the cellars of Sanaa’s Great Mosque.

“Workers saw the Quran pieces when they opened the cellar. Why do we call them pieces? Because in the early periods of Islam, there were not too many Qurans and people used to read it by cutting it into pieces. These pieces were worn down as they were transferred from person to person. After the development of writing, Qurans increased in number and these pieces were gathered and kept in a place.
When the door of the cellar was opened, snakes came out. The cellar has a window and water came in from there. This is why some of these pieces decomposed and got dirty,” said Altıkulaç, underlining the importance of the discovery.

According to the daily, the pieces of the holy book were discovered during restoration works that started on the mosque after a collapse in the structure.

Some of the pieces have previously been sold at London auction houses by former governors, he said.

“The Quran pieces need restoration at the moment. They have been kept randomly in 20 sacks.”

He said the pieces were under the responsibility of the Yemeni Culture Ministry and that they should be handled one by one and restored.

“Some of the Quran pieces are from the companions of the Prophet Muhammed and some date back to second and third centuries. They are very important sources for the academic world,” he said.

February/11/2013

Quran Reading with Tajwid

Literally, ‘tajwid‘ means improvement and perfection. If you do something with tajwid it means you are trying to do it with the utmost quality and in the most perfect way possible. The term is technically used to refer to the science concerned with correct recitation and pronunciation of the Qur’anic words and verses. The relationship is clear between the literal meaning of the word and its technical usage; the literal meaning revolves around perfecting an action or a performance, which is the recitation of the Qur’an as far as the science of Tajwid is concerned.

After the rapid spread of Islam in its early centuries, especially among non-Arabs, Muslim scholars deemed it necessary to put down a set of rules that serve as a reference for the Qur’an learners. So, Tajwid has been the reference for people who wished to recite the Qur’an in a correct manner. This, however, does not deny the fact that the Qur’an cannot be learned independently, without the assistance of a skilled teacher. The unique isnad-based system of learning Qur’an continued to be the recognized way for teaching students how to recite the Qur’an and for training them on Tajwid. In the isnad-based system, a student recites the whole Qur’an by heart, from the beginning to the end, fulfilling the rules of Tajwid to a certified Qur’an teacher, and then the student is certified by the teacher to be qualified to recite and teach the Qur’an. The certificate is called ijazah (license). A typical ijazah lists the teachers of the granting sheikh (the isnad or sanad , an unbroken chain of teachers that goes back to the Prophet).

Tajwid, according to the scholars’ definition, is all about “articulating (the sound of) each letter from its proper point of articulation, and ensuring the correct pronunciation of the genuine characteristics of each sound as well as the occasional ones.” Here, by ‘genuine’ scholars mean the permanent features of a sound without which the sound is never pronounced correctly. The occasional features are those affecting a letter sound due to certain occasional reasons such as the place of the letter in a word, its tashkil, the features of the letters coming before or after it, etc.

A typical Tajwid book starts with an introduction clarifying the significance and manners of reciting the Qur’an, the prerequisites of a correct recitation, the Islamic ruling of observing Tajwid when reciting the Qur’an and the types of recitation in terms of speed. The main body of Tajwid, as clearly stated in the above definition, is concerned with the correct pronunciation of the Qur’an. This is dealt with in the following basic topics:

  1. Points of articulation (Makharij Al-Huruf)
  2. Letters Characteristics (Sifat Al-Huruf)
  3. Other rules of Tajwid related to the sound changes of certain letters due to their places in the word or their surrounding letters, such as the rules of a non-vowel N and M (ahkam an-Nun wal mim as-sakinah) and the types of long vowels (mudud.)

Students of phonetics will find the above topics familiar and similar to what they study. The concept of idgham, for example, is similar to that of assimilation as far as the phonetics is concerned.

It is obligatory, according to the scholars of Tajwid, to observe its rules when reciting the Qur’an. Allah Almighty said, {…recite the Qur’an (aloud) in a slow, (pleasant tone and) style} (Al-Muzzamil 73: 4)

The verse means reciting the Qur’an slowly with humility (khushu`) and reflection observing the rules of Tajwid such as lengthening the long vowels (madd al-mamudud) and shortening the short ones (qasr al-maqsur)… The command in the above verse indicates obligation as this is the original usage of the imperative form. There is nothing here to indicate otherwise. (Al-Marsafi, Hidayat Al-Qari’ ila Tajwid Kalam al-Bari)

Imam ibn Al-Jazari, one of the earliest scholars of Tajwid, maintained in his Tuhfatul-Atfal, a famous beginner-style Tajwid manual, that,

It is incumbent to observe the rules of Tajwid; those who fail to do so are incurring a sin because the Qur’an was revealed by Allah and transmitted to us with the rule s of Tajwid.

Some scholars, however, hold that it is recommended (mustahab) to follow the rules of Tajwid rather than being wajib(obligatory), as long as the words are pronounced correctly in terms of Arabic and no mistakes are involved of course. Nevertheless, it befits a Muslim to try his best to perfect his recitation. `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

The one who is proficient in the recitation of the Qur’an will be with the honorable, obedient scribes (angles), and he who recites the Qur’an with difficulty and find it hard to recite will have a double reward. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Tajwid is just one of the manifestations of Allah’s protection for the Qur’an from any kinds of corruption. Going through books of the Tajwid shows the extreme care given to the minute details of the pronunciation of the Qur’an. All of this is to ensure that the way the Qur’an is recited fourteen centuries after the demise of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is exactly the same as how the Prophet recited the Qur’an. Besides, the isnad-based transmission of the Qur’an guarantees that the rules of Tajwid are fully put into practice in a way that ensures the highest quality and accuracy level when transmitting the Qur’an from one generation to another. Tajwid, after all, is one of a group of sciences created initially to serve the Qur’an and to guard it from corruption such as the Qira’at (science of the recitation versions) and the scripting of the Qur’an (ar-rasm wad-dabt.)

By Muhammad Fathi

Muslim parents bid to set up private Islamic school

MUSLIM parents are hoping to raise more than £300,000 to buy a disused former Glasgow primary and turn it into a private school for their youngsters.

The school, based in the former Holmlea Primary building in Cathcart, would have separate entrances and facilities for boys and girls if a fundraising appeal is successful.

The school would offer a range of secular subjects, as well as Arabic and Islamic sciences.

The bid is being led by parents and professionals concerned about the environment in Scottish schools.

Glasgow Community Education Association (GCEA), which is behind the project, claims attending mainstream schools is resulting in “unsocial behaviour” among Muslim youngsters and that the lack of Islamic schools is forcing Muslim families out of Glasgow.

On a website set up to raise money for the project, the association says: “There is a huge demand in the community for a high-standard local facility providing good secular education together with moral guidance in order to produce well-balanced upright individuals.”

Some previous attempts to establish Muslim schools in Scotland have been unsuccessful. Both the Iqra Academy in Glasgow and the Imam Muhammad Zakariya School for girls in Dundee closed after receiving negative inspection reports.

The Iqra Academy, which shut in 2003, was criticised by inspectors for giving pupils no opportunity to mix with the local community and for its treatment of girls at the school.

However, more recently the Qalam Academy has been set up in Glasgow, an independent Islamic Educational Institute providing primary education.

Hanzala Malik, Glasgow MSP, disputed the need for a Muslim school.

He said he was a firm believer in public education and urged those behind the school to redirect their energy into improving mainstream provision.

He added: “When children leave school they are all going to have to live in the same world.”

Holmlea Primary in Cathcart was declared surplus by Glasgow City Council in 2006 and put up for sale. Six bids were made for it last year, with the GCEA putting in the highest offer.

It describes itself as an organisation formed by “local professionals and parents” to establish a private educational facility for Muslim children. The GCEA envisages it as catering for pre-school to secondary pupils.

The purchase of the school will cost £225,000, exclusive of VAT, and further funds will be required for refurbishment. The GCEA is currently trying to raise the money it needs online.

Andrew Denholm – http://www.heraldscotland.com

 

New Hijri year – How faith served the Prophet to reach Medina

As the new Hijri year begins, Muslims are reminded about the migration of the Prophet and to observe the memory of harmony, altruism and unity between the Muhajireen (migrants) and Ansar (supporters).

After the message of Allah was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed, he stayed in Mecca to preach Islam and reach out to tribes and envoys.

“But he found little support and endorsement. Instead he was severely harmed, yet he remained patient until Allah, the most High, awarded Him with Ansars who embraced Islam before they went back to Medina,” explains the sermon.

“Then Allah, may Glory be to Him, authorized His Messenger to start the journey to Medina, a call that his followers answered without hesitation.”

As the Prophet himself waited in Mecca until he received the order from Allah, Quraish tribes plotted to kill him.

They agreed to have a member of each tribe participate in the killing so his blood would be distributed between them, and thus whoever wanted to avenge him would have to face all the tribes.

Allah says in the Quran: “And [remember, O Muhammad], when those who disbelieved plotted against you to restrain you or kill you or evict you [from Makkah]. But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners.

“As He promised, Allah saved his Apostle, who went out from Mecca before their enemies’ eyes, but their sight was momentarily taken away,” continues the sermon.

“He took a handful of dust and started pouring it on their heads, while reciting this verse: ‘And We have put before them a barrier and behind them a barrier and covered them, so they do not see’.”

He walked with his companion, Abu Bakr, at night until they reached the cave of Thawr and took refuge in it.

In the meantime, Quraish had left no stone unturned to find him until they reached the Cave gate and stood by there.

At that point, Abu Bakr told the Prophet: “Allah’s Messenger, if one amongst them were to see at his feet he would have surely seen us.”

Prophet Mohammed replied: “What can befall two who have Allah as the third One with them.”

A Quranic verse was revealed about this incident that says: “If you do not aid the Prophet – Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he said to his companion, ‘Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.’

“And Allah sent down his tranquility upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah – that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.”

After three days of staying at the cave, they were able to leave Mecca for Medina.

By: Haneen Dajani hdajani@thenational.ae

In heart of France, Islamic school trains imams

By Pauline Talagrand

SAINT-LEGER-DE-FOUGERET — Deep in the wooded hills of Burgundy in central France, an unusual institute is training unusual students: aspiring French imams who hope to minister to the country’s large Muslim population.

Early in the morning, some 200 students from across the country stream into the European Institute of Human Sciences de Saint-Leger-de-Fougeret, where they learn to chant the Koran and study Islamic theology and Arabic literature.

After seven intensive years of study, only 10 or so graduates each year to lead prayers or preach at mosques. There is no doubting the need for new imams.

Estimates of France’s Muslim population vary widely, from between 3.5 million and 6.0 million, though there is little hard evidence as to how many are practising. In any event, France’s Muslim community is the largest in Western Europe.

Relations between the authorities and Muslims, many of them second- or third-generation immigrants, chiefly from North Africa, have often been tense.

Some younger Muslims have been tempted by extremist jihadist views and France has implemented a contentious ban on women wearing full veils.

Over the past nine years, various governments have encouraged the professional training of local religious leaders. Interior Minister Manuel Valls recently backed the practice, even if the job of imam is badly paid, if at all, and enjoys no official recognition.

The initiative goes back 20 years when the Union of Islamic Organisations in France, which has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, converted a former children’s holiday centre into the institute. Its stated aim is to train imams equipped “with a solid knowledge of Islam and the socio-cultural realities of Europe.”

The idea was to provide an alternative to the recruitment of foreign imams, who often spoke no French and had little or no knowledge of French lifestyles.

“The training of imams who are products of French society is vital: Today 70 percent of the faithful don’t speak Arabic,” said the institute’s director Zuhair Mahmood.

Initially financed by the Gulf States, the school depends heavily on fees of about 3,400 euros ($4,400) a year — board and lodging included.

“Since I was small I have dreamed of becoming an imam,” said 18-year-old Wahib, who did not want to give his last name, “but seven years is long and there are no grants.”

Apart from the rural setting, the atmosphere in the run-down prefabricated corridors of the institute is like that of any other college.

At break time men, often bearded, and women, all of them wearing head scarves, wait for coffee. The women can follow the 20 hours of weekly courses but cannot become imams.

Said, who also did not want to give his last name, was born in Morocco and now living in Nice in southern France. He took correspondence courses for two years and has now left his family to “deepen my knowledge of Islam” and “if I succeed, become an imam.”

“It’s my vocation,” he says. “I would love to pass on my knowledge to others and above all fight against extremism.”

There are about 10 people in his class. They listen to the interpretations of a Koran sura, or chapter, as part of a third year theology course, which also includes an introduction to French law. They then recite a passage from the Koran.

“Being an imam, it isn’t something that happens,” the 33-year-old Said told AFP. “It’s a real responsibility, We have to be safeguards. He lamented the fact that “moderate imams are ignored by people in the middle of an identity crisis.”

“Radicalism is always the result of ignorance,” Said’s theology teacher Larbi Belbachir added.

“You cannot pass on a message without knowing French. Islam can adapt and does not forbid you to respect the law.”

Traditionally, congregations of the faithful choose their imams, who carry out their duties as volunteers or are paid by gifts. Those presiding in large mosques can earn 1,500 euros ($1,950) a month. They are classified as educators or teachers but never as imams.

“When this profession is recognised and paid as such,” Said suggested, “perhaps there will be more vocations.”

The Six Kalimas

1- First Kalima (Tayyab):
Laaa Ilaaha Illa-llaahu Muhammadur-Rasoolu-llaah

There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah

2- Second Kalima (Shahadat):
Ash-hadu Al-laaa Ilaaha Illa-llaahu Wahdahoo Laa Shareeka Lahoo Wa-Ash-hadu Anna Muhammadan ‘Abduhoo Wa Rasooluhu.

I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, the One alone, without partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger

3- Third Kalima (Tamjeed):
Subhaana-llaahi Walhamdu Lillaahi Walaaa Ilaaha Illa-llaahu Wallaahu Akbar. Walaa Hawla Walaa Quwwata Illaa Billaahi-l ‘Aliyyil ‘Azeem.

Glory be to Allah and all praise be to Allah, there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and Allah is the Greatest. There is no might or power except from Allah, the Exalted, the Great One.

4- Fourth Kalima (Touheed):
Laaa Ilaaha Illa-llaahu Wahdahoo Laa Shareeka-lahoo Lahu-l Mulku Walahu-l Hamdu Yuhyee Wayumeetu Wahuwa Hayyu-l Laa Yamootu Abadan Abada. Dhu-l Jalaali Wal Ikraam. Biyadihil Khair. Wahuwa Alaa Kulli Shai-’in Qadeer.

There is none worthy of worship except Allah. He is alone and has no partner. To Him belongs the Kingdom and for Him is all praise. He gives life and causes death. In His hand is all good and He has power over everything

5- Fifth Kalima (Astaghfar):
Astaghfiru-llaaha Rabbi Min Kulli Dhambin Adhnabtuhoo ‘Amadan Aw Khata-an Sirran Aw ‘Alaaniyata-wn Wa-atoobu Ilaihi Min-adh Dhambi-l Ladhee A’lamu Wamina-dh Dhambi-l Ladhi Laaa A’lamu Innaka Anta ‘Allaamu-l Ghuyoobi Wasattaaru-l ‘Uyoobi Wa Ghaffaaru-dh Dhunubi Walaa Hawla Walaa Quwwata Illaa Billaahi-l ‘Aliyyil ‘Azeem.

I seek forgiveness from Allah, who is my Creator and Cheriser, from every sin I committed knowingly or unknowingly, secretly or openly. I also seek His forgiveness for all sins which I am aware of or am not aware of. Certainly You (O Allah!), are the Knower of the hidden and the Concealer of mistakes and the Forgiver of sins. And there is no power and no strength except from Allah, the Most High, the Most Great.

6- Sixth Kalima (Radd-e-Kufar):
Allaa-humma Inneee A’udhu-bika Min An Ushrika Bika Shay-awn Wa-ana A’lamu Bihee Wa- astaghfiruka Limaa Laaa A’lamu Bihee Tubtu ‘Anhu Wata-barraatu Mina-l Kufri Wash-shirki Wal-kidhbi Wal-gheebati Wal-bid’ati Wan-nameemati Wal-fawahishi Wal-buhtaani Wal-m’aasi Kulli-haa Wa-Aslamtu Wa-aqoolu Laaa Ilaaha Illa-llaahu Muhammadu-r Rasoolu-llah.

O Allah! I seek refuge in You from that I should ascribe any partner with You knowingly. I seek Your forgiveness for the sin of which I have no knowledge. I repent from it. And becoming disgusted of disbelief and idolatry, lying and backbiting, innovation and slander, lewdness and abomination and all other acts of disobedience, I submit to Your will. I believe and I declare that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

How to perform Wudu (Ablution)

Step 1:
Intention. Since Islam teaches us that intention forms the basis of any action, it is necessary that, before you perform Wudu, you make the niyyat or intention for it. This will not be a verbal act – you only have to mentally prepare yourself for an act that will cleanse and purify you.

Step 2:
Say Bismillah. Recite bismi-llāhi ar-raḥmāni ar-raḥīmi (In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful).

Step 3:
Begin by washing your hands. Completely wash your right hand three times with clean water, then move on to the left and repeat. When washing, remember not to miss any part of the hands – wash between the fingers and thumb, too.

Step 4:
Rinse mouth. Take water in your right palm and rinse your mouth with it, thrice. Do not swallow the water on purpose, but spit it out every time.

Step 5:
Cleaning the nose. Using your right hand, carefully and gently put water into your nostrils, before exhaling it. Perform this step three times.

Step 6:
Wash your face. Thoroughly wash your face, beginning from the hairline on your forehead and from one ear to the other. This step, too, must be performed three times.

Step 7:
Wash your arms. Begin with your right hand. Wet it with water, and wash from your wrist up to your elbow. Repeat thrice; then do the same to your left arm.

Step 8:
Perform Masah. Usually, Masah refers to the religious act of cleaning one’s head, in a specific way, with a small amount of water. For performing Masah, wet your hands and place your palms, flat, on the top of your head (where the hairline begins). Wipe them to the back of your neck, and then back again to the front. Now wet the back of both ears by placing your thumbs behind them. Use your index and middle fingers to wash the front and back of your ears. Masah is done only once.

Step 9:
Wash feet. Start with your right foot. Wash it thrice from the toes, up to the ankles. Make sure you wash between your toes, too. Do the same to your left foot.

Remember: Once Wudu is performed, it does not need to (but can) be performed again until it is invalidated.