Exploring the Quran… There’s an app for that!

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

Along my path towards ‘Appreciating the meanings of the Quran’, I found a Web-based app (at the time) called Quran Explorer

I used it a few times when researching the translation of some verses for speeches in the past so when I found it on the App store a few months a go, I knew it would be a handy app to have on my iPad.

As much as I enjoy reading from my hard copy of the English Translation of the Quran, the convenience of an App meant that I would never be without a copy of the Quran and it’s translation… what more could I ask for?

The Quran Explorer iPad App has been very handy and has greatly aided in my exploration of the Quran and it’s meanings. The App has a very user-friendly interface and includes a search function, audio recitation and commentary on each verse. 

Summary of features:

  • Quran (Arabic) Recitation by various reciters
  • Translation in multiple languages and by various translators
  • Audio Translation by verse
  • Tafseer or English Commentary 
  • Unlimited number of bookmarks – very handy for research
  • Auto Scroll Capabilities
  • Audio options include speed of recitation, interval time and repeat for memorization 
  • Bookmark Synchronisation through iCloud
  • Sharing options include Tweet/Email or Saving as image
  • Available on iPad, iPhone and Web App

The only feature missing is a note-taking function which would probably make it the ultimate Quran App for me. The Free version has some restrictions on the number of languages, reciters and a few other features but is fully functional. The full version costs $9.99 which may seem high but, in my opinion is worth every cent.

Having an App like this at the touch of a button allows me to study and explore the meanings of the Quran easily and more frequently than ever before. I believe it is a great tool to facilitate a better understanding of the Quran in general as well as in your Salaah. Understanding what you recite can be the difference between a ritual prayer and a prayer of serenity, humility and devotion… In Sha Allah. 

I pray that we are able to benefit from programs like this and that Allah grant Barakah and success in these initiatives. Technology is major part of our lives, why not use it to better our after-lives.

(This is) a Scripture that We have revealed unto thee, full of blessing, that they may ponder its revelations, and that men of understanding may reflect. (Quran 38:29)

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Translated Reflections… Patience & Restraint.

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

After falling asleep reading my Twitter feed which was filled with Anti Muslim sentiment in light of recent events around the country, I was pleased to wake up to these verses…

‘And do you be patient, for your patience is but from God; nor grieve you over them: and distress not yourself because of their plots. For God is with those who restrain themselves, and those who do good’. – Quran 16:127-128.

Recite Quran, understand your recitation and embrace the divine guidance!

May Allah grant us patience during these testing times.

Beyond recitation…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

My search for knowledge over the years has emphasised the lack of appreciation many Muslims have for the Quran, particularly non Arabic speaking Muslims like myself. While I do believe the true beauty of the Quran lies in its original form, as people of Ihsan or perfection, we have a duty to look beyond the sheer majesty of the revelation.

So many of us have spent years learning, reciting and memorising the Quran without giving much thought to the message within. Despite the years I spent myself learning, reading, reciting and memorising the verses of the Quran, I found myself very detached from the meaning and translation of the text.

The recitation of the Quran is a major part of my life and my daily routine yet the idea of reading the translation of the very verses I enjoyed reciting was cumbersome. As my awareness of this grew, I searched for a copy of an English Quran and began reading from it. It may not flow as easily or sound as melodious but the Divine nature of the revelation is definitely not lost in translation.

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As a result of this new found appreciation for the Quran, it’s been years since I was able to read a novel or even consider any non-spiritual reading. I’ve found it to be very inspirational and indeed fulfilling.

Though the verses we read remain the same, our understanding of these verses can drastically change depending on circumstances, emotions and even social and political factors. This is when you truly understand the wisdom in the saying…

“If you want to talk to Allah, then pray Salaah. If you want Allah to talk to you, then read the Quran”

Sweet reflections!

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

Despite reciting these verses repeatedly, they never fail to amaze me… SubhanAllah!

And behold! Your Lord has inspired the bee with this “Build thy hive in the mountains, trees and in the creepers over trellises: then drink nectar from every kind of fruit, and follow the ways made smooth by the Lord.” From its belly comes out a fluid of varying hues wherein is healing for mankind. Here is indeed a Sign for those people who ponder over it. – Quran, An Nahl v 68-69.

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It takes the entire lives of 12 bees to make 1 teaspoon of honey… We can not begin to fathom the mercy of our Lord.

Reflect and Appreciate!

Alhamdulillah!

3 Reflections… One of my favourite Ayaat.

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

I reached one of my favourite Ayaat today which brought back many memories. These Ayaat brought tears to my eyes in my youth, made me proud in adulthood and gives me hope in parenthood.

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SubhanAllah, the same words repeated, a different message each time!

I pray to have many more reflections on these Ayaat In Sha Allah!

Remember the Quran… and the milk!

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

As part of my Ramadhan prep this year I’ve been looking at ways to increase Quran recitation each day. By spending more time at the mosque lately, I’ve had the opportunity to read Quran more than just once a day which naturally allows me to read more through the day. I’ve tried in the past and tried again recently to use one of the many Quran apps available to recite just about anywhere, anytime while keeping track of my progress each day. Some of the apps are really awesome and allow clear arabic text, english translation, notes and a bookmarks so you know exactly where you’re up to. The main advantage of these apps is the convenience and the progress tracking which is handy, especially when you’re reading at different times and in different places each day.

For some reason I can not find comfort in reading on a screen and scrolling through the text. As convenient as it is, I find the experience of reciting Quran on my iPhone or iPad very unusual and slightly un-natural. I grew up reading Quran the old-fashioned way and nothing can beat the familiarity and comfort in holding the Mus-haf (Compiled pages of the Quran or Kitab). I’ve been reading Quran in the same mus-haf for 12 years and no app can give you that feeling of familiarity and tranquility. The worn pages, scribblings and date markings add a dimension no technology can emulate but since I can’t carry my mus-haf everywhere, I needed a solution that allowed me to read in any mus-haf, anywhere I went while still keeping track of my progress.

I’ve been using an app called ‘Remember The Milk’ to manage my projects, emails, task list and priorities and after a few tweaks I found the perfect solution. This is what Remember the Quran looks like in my Remember the Milk app…

Remember The Quran

I’ve set it to recur everyday so I’ll have a daily reminder to ‘Read Quran’ and the notes section allows me to keep track of my progress which I can update any time I read, any where I read. It’s working well so far and I’m looking forward to really testing out through Ramadhan InshaAllah. Just love it when technology and religion come together. Alhamdulillah for Muslim Productivity.

Reading Quran…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

I am grateful to Allah for making me among those who are able to read the Quran and for allowing me to recite it everyday. I have never doubted the benefits of reading Quran despite not understanding the Arabic language. I have always felt the positive influence the Quran has on my life and is something I pray I can always feel.

The idea of reading a book without understanding the language in which it’s written is very strange. How would you justify the importance of reading the Quran without understanding what you are reading. I came across an interesting story that puts this into perspective…

An old American Muslim lived on a farm in the mountains of eastern Kentucky with his young grandson. Each morning Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading his Quran. His grandson wanted to be just like him and tried to imitate him in every way he could.

One day the grandson asked, “Grandpa! I try to read the Quran just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Qur’an do?”

The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and replied, “Take this coal basket down to the river and bring me back a basket of water.

The boy did as he was told, but all the water leaked out before he got back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, “You’ll have to move a little faster next time,” and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again. This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was impossible to carry water in a basket, and he went to get a bucket instead.

The old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You’re just not trying hard enough,” and he went out the door to watch the boy try in.

At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got back to the house. The boy again dipped the basket into river and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, “See Grandpa, it’s useless!”“So you think it is useless?” The old man said, “Look at the basket.”

The boy looked at the basket and for the first time realized that the basket was different. It had been transformed from a dirty old coal basket and was now clean, inside and out.

Son, that’s what happens when you read the Qur’an. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, you will be changed, inside and out. That is the work of Allah in our lives.”