Muslim Development Course: Update

The Muslim Development Course has been rescheduled! It is due to start up again on April 4th.

The Muslim Development Course is the class I will be teaching that is part of the Quba Adult Learning Program entitled, al-Qāfilah: ‘The Knowledge Caravan’. The objective of this course is to encourage the development of Muslim thought, action, and behavior, both individual and social, in such a way that it reflects a deeper and more personal understanding, ownership, and embodiment of the divine principles found in the Qur’ān and the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him.

This course will examine the current conditions of Muslims – most immediately of those living in the Philadelphia area (though the principles may be applied to any) – with the aim of looking critically at our current condition and how we might apply the Qur’ān and Sunnah in our lives by actively engaging in its historical realities and processes. Such topics will include, but are not limited to: the life of the Prophet [s] – a.k.a., the sīrah up to the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah; the early Qur’ānic Revelation (Makkan period): the cultural context as well as its audience; pre-Islamic life in the Hijāz (the jāhiliyyah): what was pre-Islam Arabia like? How did pre-Islamic Arabs think?; the language of the Qur’ān: its history, its audience, its changes – how do we as an English speaking audience conceive of its meaning?; the socio-political order of Makkah and Madinah: what lessons are there for us today, both personal and collectively? Through engaging in a dialog with the collective of Muslim Revelation, history, thought, and language, we can better understand ourselves and, God willing, have a deeper commitment to the legacy of the Prophet Muhammad.

The class starts April 4th. Running time is from 10:00am until 12:30pm. The class will run for four Sundays: April 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th. This session, the second session, will be held at Masjid Mujahideen, in West Philadelphia:


View Larger Map

The first cycle of this class was started on March 7th, and will is currently running until March 28th [taught by Imam Anas of the [Qubā’ Institute]. If you would like to sign up for this course, please contact the Qubā’ Institute as follows:

Phone: 215-473-8589. E-mail: adultprogram@qubainc.org. The course fee is $50 [this is less than $15 a day!]

Tips On Memorizing the Qur’an: Magic Lawh

I am often asked by Muslims on how they can better learn and memorize the Book of Allah. I know that even in the best of situations, memorization of the Qur’an can be a daunting task, whether one is a convert or born Muslim. There are a number of factors that make this a high road to climb:

  1. Time: modern life can make it a challenge to find the time to consistently sit down and read Qur’an.
  2. Study Methods: not everyone is born a great student. Like other areas of knowledge, one can learn to be more efficient at memorizing the Qur’an by learning good study skills.
  3. Language: there is no doubt that lack of the Arabic language can make the process more difficult but one should not be discouraged. Many people learn the Qur’an without knowing what all the words mean. While under optimal conditions, the two would go hand-in-hand, this short article will assume that one is not a master of the language.

There is little I can do for points one or three, but I can offer some tips regarding point number two: technique. Here, I will introduce a time-tested technique, not only for myself, but one used throughout the Muslim world for students of Qur’anic memorization. I call it the Magic Lawh.

Butch Ware from the University of Michigan with a lawh
Butch Ware from the University of Michigan with a lawh

As seen in the picture to the left (Professor Butch Ware of the University of Michigan), the writing board, or lawh [لوح] as it is know in the Arabic language, is a flat writing board this is still used in traditional Qur’anic schools, especially in West Africa. The lawh is written upon, most often with a reed pen, where students the verses of the Qur’an, a few ayāt at a time. Little by little, some times as few as 5 verses, students write, recite, wipe, and commit to memory, the Holy Qur’an. This technique, coupled with recitation, creates a double-reinforcement that greatly enhances a student’s ability to memorize the Qur’an accurately as well as quickly.  For the modern student, the Magic Lawh helps to develop retention and listening skills by writing from either memory, listening or both.

Several years back when I was teaching Qur’an at the Islamic Center in Ann Arbor, I began to think of techniques on how I could better instruct the young students in their memorization. While running an errand at an office supply store I chanced upon a section that had a white board and dry erase markers. I immediately made the connection that the white board could perform the role and function of the lawh, while the dry erase markers made it possible to write, wipe, and memorize, over and over again, just as students do with their lawh in traditional madāris.

To put theory into practice I purchased the set straight away [a small hand-holdable white board] and put it to the test. Amazingly, I found I was able to memorize one to two pages a day, whereas before it would have taken me significantly longer to do so. I was even able to find fine-point dry erase markers to make the writing more akin to a real pen instead of a chunky marker. I realize that my experience may be an extreme example of the potential of the Magic Lawh system, but I do believe that it has the capacity and potential to help students of The Book increase their memorization.

If you are serious about memorizing the Qur’an, I cannot emphasize how beneficial the Magic Lawh system has been for me. I pray it is as useful for you as well.

Muslim Development Course

The objective of this course is to encourage the development of Muslim thought, action, and behavior, both individual and social, in such a way that it reflects a deeper and more personal understanding, ownership, and embodiment of the divine principles found in the Qur’an and the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him.

This course will examine the current conditions of Muslims – most immediately of those living in the Philadelphia area (though the principles may be applied to any) – with the aim of looking critically at our current condition and how we might apply the Qur’an and Sunnah in our lives by actively engaging in its historical realities and processes. Such topics will include, but are not limited to: the life of the Prophet [s] – a.k.a., the sīrah up to the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah; the early Qur’anic Revelation (Makkan period): the cultural context as well as its audience; pre-Islamic life in the Hijāz (the jāhiliyyah): what was pre-Islam Arabia like? How did pre-Islamic Arabs think?; the language of the Qur’an: its history, its audience, its changes – how do we as an English speaking audience conceive of its meaning?; the socio-political order of Makkah and Madinah: what lessons are there for us today, both personal and collectively? Through engaging in a dialog with the collective of Muslim Revelation, history, thought, and language, we can better understand ourselves and, God willing, have a deeper commitment to the legacy of the Prophet Muhammad.

The class is slated to start February 21st at the Quba Instituate. If you would like to sign up for this course, you may contact the Quba Institute or stay tuned for more details.