Born into a Muslim family, I was brought up with the basics of the Islamic religion instilled in me. I used to pray, say the duaa before going into the toilet, before eating, before sleeping and even knew what to say while leaving the home. My parents taught me virtually everything they knew how to teach a child about Islam. I attended a Muslim school right from the onset too, and every morning on the assembly ground, we used to recite Suratu-yasin and Al-mulk. Apparently, I could recite them like a rhyme. There was a madrasah (Arabic School) in my compound, so I grew up knowing it as my second school. And as time progressed and I grew older, I began to get interested in new things and sliding down to an indifferent attitude on some other things. I fell in love with play but indifferent on studies. I didn’t see anything spectacular about books nor Arabic along sides the Qur’an.
After secondary school I had to take up a teaching job as I was still awaiting admission into the university. So, as a teacher I fell into the setting of adults. I was beginning to appreciate time. I would wake up early , observe fajr, take care of some house chores and then hurry to the school where I was teaching. I was almost always late!
I had a colleague who was also a friend, karimah, we used to hang out together during breaks and we leave school together too. Karimah dresses like I do and she knew virtually all the things I knew about Islam. Only that she was better. She used to fast on mondays and Thursdays and she always read Surah Al-kahf on fridays. Whenever she was observing salah, I used to look at her for long, following each movement she made. Though she never knew I was observing her. I started feeling bad about something i used to do. Some acts of worship. I read the Qur’an but not daily. I fast but it’s not even compulsory, so why bother? I would sometimes tell myself. And then my salah? You’d think I really need to use the bathroom while I’m in it. I didn’t use to bother about any of these things until I started moving with karimah.
Gradually, I picked up the Surah Al-kahf habit. I would try to read it on Fridays but I didn’t used to make it to the 110th verse. The chapter was too long for me. Sometimes I would count the number of pages from page 293 to 304 and then feel so intimidated. I just don’t get why it’s even that important to read it if it’s not waajib (compulsory). But I still wanted to do it.
Meanwhile, my brother was influencing me too. He is a lover of the Qur’an and he would always recite it while he’s busy with something or stuff. He didn’t really used to read it in my presence. One day while my mom was inquiring why he returned late from the masjid one friday, he told her he was reciting the Qur’an; Al-kahf perhaps. All my excitement shrunk to barest level then. I was already half way in my kahf that Friday and there was my brother, saying he had completed his. That made me feel the need to intensify my effort.
Soon, I started competing with my siblings and friend with non of them aware, every Friday. My Mom always read a2 in one Qur’an; Arabic and yoruba. She would sit on the prayer mat and read it occasionally while I just look at her or do my own things. And whenever i attended Islamic camping programmes, I always saw a difference too. Some people would come with their translated Qur’ans and read them at their leisures. I really wondered what special thing was there in reading the meaning of the Qur’an. Then I started trying it too, but still I didn’t get the vibe, at least not completely.
to be continued…