Monday, January 19, 2009

Learning To Read The Quran

I remember I never quite looked forward to my "mengaji" (reading the Quran) lessons.

It's nothing personal. I liked my dear ustaz. He was so gentle and so patient with us all.

It's a kid thing, you know.

If I had the chance, I'd "ponteng" (skip classes). But those opportunities were rare. Hardly presented themselves. Few and far between. It was not easy to "ponteng" when the ustaz gave home lessons and they were after-school hours.

Mak, of course, was never amused. She'd untiringly tell my sisters and I about the goodness, benefit of reading the Quran and reciting the holy verses.

She said it would keep "syaitan" away. And so forth.

Besides, how terrible we would be to our ustaz who had come all the way by bus to do God's work....

Really, it's not that I didn't like to "mengaji". I suppose, as with kids, anything that creeps into their play-time or TV-time is bothersome.

Needless to say, I "khatam" when I was 12 years old, just before I started Form One, together with my late sister, Kak Eda.

That was not the end of it. Mak made us all continue reading the Quran (with her), and "khatam" many times over until we went to college or abroad.

"Reading the Quran is life-long," she used to tell us.

She said we had to learn the "tajwid".

But over the years of doing "mengaji", I learnt to see the beauty of the Quran, because I read the translation as well.
For a lot of Muslims, I believe it is a natural progression after learning to read the Quran. You just have to know what you've been reading and reciting.

I remember, after my eldest was born, I joined Kak Ton and Abang Ani for "tafsiran" classes at the International Islamic University conducted by Prof Dr Kamal. Unfortunately, because of my busy work schedule, I had to quit.

I remember when I enrolled in college, I made my own poster depicting the Al-Fatihah. I wrote in Arabic script with the English translation and had it put it up on the inside of the door (of my room).

It read (as most of us know):
"In the name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Merciful
Praise be to Allah, Lord of Creation,
The Compassionate, The Merciful,
King of the Last Judgement
To Thee alone we worship; To Thee alone we ask for help
Lead us to the straight path, The path of
those whom Thou favour;
Not the (path) of those
who have incurred Thine wrath,
Nor of those who have gone astray

It's nothing unusual. As most Muslim parents, I make sure that my children begin "mengaji" at an early age. Our ustaz comes over Thursday evenings.
I'm pretty old-fashioned in this. I feel it's important that they learn to read the Quran properly. Khatam and continue "mengaji"until whenever.

I'd like them to be able to read/recite the Yassin because the Yassin is the heart of the Quran.

But, of course, having the benefit of exposure and experience, I approach the issue a little differently from my own mother.
You know, kids these days.

But on the other hand, it's good to know that kids today have sources of learning readily accessible.
Without having to tell them, they're already looking up the translations of the Quran.

And that makes learning to read the Quran more fulfilling.


LazerJuan said...

To those who are new to the concept of reading the Quran in their own language, please just give it a try. At least try doing it once - cover to cover.

For a start, stick to the TRANSLATION not the INTERPRETATION. There are many things to learn from just the TRANSLATION...universal values, guidance, etc.

Don't be too obsessed with `KUPASAN' or `disecting'its meaning just yet.

I was once told that the layers of the Quran is like an onion. There are many layers for one to analyse or `kupas'. Lets first appreciate the onion, through reading its translation, rather than getting our eyes water and mind confused with `interpretation'.

There is a misconception among Muslims generally that appreciating and understanding the Quran can only be done with the help of a Guru/Ustaz or teacher. This `principle' is further compounded on the belief that only with the knowledge of Arabic that one can understand Quran's true message.

Again, as a concerned non-Arabic speaking Muslim, lets get to know the meaning of the Quran via our own language first. You would be amazed at how beautiful its `first layer' is.

Personally, understanding and appreciating the Quran from its first layer (through its universal message} may be enough to last you a lifetime.


Anonymous said...


Mari lah kita sama-sama memboikot Air Asia kerana sikapnya yang begitu tamak dan asyik mengejar keuntungan. Langsung tiday ada sikap memberi. Saya telah menggunakan logo "I'm not flying Air Asia" di blog saya:

Saya harap saudari juga boleh meggunakan logo tersebut dalam blogsite saudari.

mut said...

It's good to "go back to the Quran" as is oft repeated. Just what does it mean?

Me? I think the Al-Quran/anti-hadeeth group would be making its rounds soon.

Been down that road before.... anyway happy reciting the Quran. Just don't forget the hadeeth of the Prophet as well. They will stand you in good stead.


halimah said...

While agreeing that the rote learning and recitation of the Quran is a discipline in itself, its understanding is more urgent.

Dutifully I put my 10 cucu through the paces that I went through as a child. Every Saturday and Sunday morning they read the Quran and write out the huruf, ayah and surah under the tutelage of an Ustaz and Ustazah. Hopefully they are learning well!

It is a massive task and heavy duty indeed to internalize the teachings and messages of the Holy Book - which one needs to do again and again.

For this one needs to have reached a certain level of maturity and a jolly good translation!

I find the Muhammad Asad translation/ explanation most lucid and helpful. It's available online complete with the recitation.

I never cease to be amazed by and in awe of the Quran, the beauty of its language and imagery and the poignancy of its teachings!

Completely ignorant of Arabic I'm still completely enthralled!

Anonymous said...

I too learned reading Quran the old fashioned way. "Mengaji". Without tafsir etc and with no passion for it.Quran is something you shd hormat, to be read once a while,and sometimes will take years to khatam. I guess without understanding its contents, there is no real attraction to read. However, after reading some articles and fatwas in "islamonline" where so many verses of Quran were quoted to support their fatwas, I really feel jealous of those who cld understand Quran so well. Banyak sunguh pengajaran didalamnya merangkumi semua aspect kehidupan. If we were to follow what is taught in the Quran, we cld really be an excellent person. Kaya dg harta dan budi. Berbaik sangka dg semua manusia. We wont be quaralling with anybody at all. Hubungan antara kaum tidak akan menjadi masalah. quran asks us to be fair with everybody, to take care of everybody. Be good to your neighbours etc. Subhanallah

Anonymous said...

"....I'm pretty old-fashioned in this. I feel it's important that they learn to read the Quran properly. Khatam and continue "mengaji"until whenever...".

You call that OLD fashion...?



i think the context of people these days encouraging the reading of translations before reading the Quran in its original form and text...

but you don't think so?

thank you.