Islam students at LUC

Archive for February 2014

It was movie day this week in class. The first movie we watched was Koran by Heart. Since I grew up in a Muslim family, every now and then I would hear about a family friend or a distant cousin who became a hafiz as I was learning how to read the Qur’an. I always admired them because like the documentary explained, it is not an easy task. Many of these children have had to make sacrifices, such as giving up on their education, in order to memorize the Qur’an. Moreover, these children often do not understand Arabic. This is always something that bothered me when I was younger because I failed to see the importance of learning to speak the same words the prophet spoke. In the documentary, the child that won third place also did not know how to speak Arabic. After winning the competition, his father advised him to learn how to speak the language because it would help him communicate with people in the future and because he would have a better understanding of the Qur’an. It was unfortunate that he was nearly illiterate when he tested for school. This illustrates the weight religion holds over numerous families around the world.

In response to youngboy420: Like I mentioned earlier, memorizing the Qur’an, although respectable, requires many sacrifices. The ideal time to become a hafiz would most likely be in your youth, but it seemed that these children often got the short end of deal unfortunately. Because this task requires months of attention, these students had to take time off from their studies. It is in classes such as science and reading that students learn how to think critically and intelligibly, a skill that Islam also advocates for. They spend these precious years memorizing something that they may not fully understand at the time and quite possibly later in life also. I think parents that encourage their children to become hafiz should spend just as much time with other areas of education, if not more.



This week in Islam class we watched two very interesting documentaries. The first one was about the young Muslim children who had the entire Quran memorized even though they were under 10 years of age. Growing up Muslim I knew a lot of children my age that had the complete Quran memorized. They had this extraordinary thing about their personalities. And I’m sure anyone who knew a young Hafez would also agree with me. They had these manners that you could compare to old men and I felt like they matured faster than the rest of normal children. They still lived extremely normal lives but had one of the most amazing attributes a Muslim could have. So watching the documentary I was reminded of how important the Quran is to a muslim’s life. The second documentary we watched was about a couple that recently just got divorced. We still haven’t finished it but it seems quite interesting.

In response to coolgamekid15:
I agree with the irani movie has got me hooked too. It also had me thinking about the future of taking care of my parents. Even though it’s a very hard task it should be obligatory for every human. Our parents raised us and took care of us, we have to do the exact back even better. I feel bad for those who place their parents in elderly homes. No respect for their parents. So far that’s what this movie has made me think about the most. I’m looking forward to the rest of the movie and I’m really curious to what’s going to happen next.



I found the documentary “Koran by Heart” to be very interesting because it showed the journey of students from all over the world who are all memorized the exact same thing. I didn’t expect all the singing, I thought it was just a task to recite it. I guess I don’t understand the importance of strictly memorizing it when you can’t comprehend it. I was surprised by how many just memorized it for this competition and didn’t even know the language. The little boy from Africa who traveled alone literally broke my heart – I felt so bad for him.

In response to username7878: I also found the house keeper’s point of view to be very interesting when it comes to her religious beliefs. As someone who has been a nursing assistant, I’ve never thought twice about seeing a naked patient. I understand it’s strictly to help that individual and there’s no judgement. I am curious who was on the other line of the phone call who told her it was okay to do so. I also find the child’s perspective to be intriguing and I usually feel bad that she has to watch the stress and tension unravel.

This past week’s educational movie involved several arcs, following the journeys of students of Qur’anic recitation/memorization, or “hafiz,” as they prepared for, traveled to, and competed in Egypt’s international competition of recitation. I think everyone felt Djamil’s story tugging on the heart strings as he courageously took the trip to Egypt on his own, then made a fatal mistake in response to an ambiguous question. But the challenge that seemed to be felt more across the board for these students was strict adherence to the rules of reciting the Quran, called “tajweed.” Certainly, the “illiterate genius” (7-year-old) Nabiollah from Tajikistan exemplified this challenge. While his passionate recitation, and flawless memorization of the Qur’an brought tears to the judge’s eyes, it was Nabiollah who was brought to tears in his “conversation” (though he did not understand a word of what the Arabic-speaking judges were saying to him) with the judges after the preliminary round, while they asked him over and over again to repeat a particular verse, or elongate a sound. As a viewer, while I respect that there are particular codes of conduct and procedural rules for all religions, and religiously tied events, I found myself thinking so what? What is this “tajweed” business all about? So for my post this week I’ve decided to learn a little bit more about these principles and rules and share my cursory knowledge with you all. 

Tajweed, at its base means “betterment,” more particularly, though, as an Islamic Law science tajweed encompasses the rules and “laws” (in the scientific sense) for the proper pronunciation of sounds and letters of the Holy Quran. But these rules are about more than just proper grammar and the Arabic language, they are about emulating the recitation of Muhammad. Knowing this, really helps to clear up that whole “so what?” question – right? But how do we know the particular ways in which the Prophet pronounced his recitations? In the Islamic tradition it is said that Muhammad gave his recitations, directly from the Allah, or through the Angel Gabriel, then his companions not only transcribed his recitations they also spread his message, preserving the Prophets message down to the pronunciation, which was picked up by his followers, until it reached the individuals we now consider Quranic scholars who then codified the rules so that all Muslims could recite the ayahs, surahs, and the book of the Qur’an in the way the Prophet received and communicated the words of Allah. 

I find myself agreeing with ambiguouscatface and arizona2004, when they reflect of their awe for the beauty with which a child, of only 7, and without knowing the language he is speaking can recite the words of the Qur’an. But, then again, the Prophet was also an illiterate man. Sure, not 7 years old, but I think the same kind of principle applied to the mesmerizing and inspiring way in which the Prophet was able to recite these messages that he did not necessarily, at least initially even understand fully. In a similarly inspiring way, Nabiollah is able to feel the words which he is reciting, which he has learned through a teacher (not to equate his teacher with Allah) orally passing down the ayahs then giving some explanation of the meaning. That’s what faith is about, right? Feeling a connection with God and his messages. So, sure, the young boy’s recitation scores could benefit from a more comprehensive education on the rules, and perhaps learning Arabic, but even over the course of two days competition those in attendance already regarded this young boy as a genius for his ability to feel, comfortable and naturally connect with the messages of God. 

I think it was helpful watching two movies addressing Islamic belief and culture. It was interesting to see how important learning the Qur’an was to different parents and kids. This is a HUGE task and just shows the dedication and seriousness of Islamic belief. These people truly desire to memorize the Qur’an in order to live by the Qur’an. By memorizing the Qur’an you could use it in any situation that may occur. It’s interesting to think that, in Islamic thinking, could memorize and have the guide to life in your head. It was also interesting to see the beginning of “The Separation.” The housekeeper’s view of seeing the grandfather naked, while still obeying her religion is the main Islamic belief that has been focused on. I’m excited to see the rest of the movie and where the plot takes us.

In response to bigbaigtheory,

I think it’s interesting that you regret not memorizing and Qur’an and not going to Hifz school. I feel like this theme is mirrored across different religions. People regret not memorizing the bible or important quotes from the bible. I also think it’s interesting that this is expected in these cultures. Just as learning a new language is expected in some cultures, or learning about different customs is common through different ethnic backgrounds and religions, it’s expected to some extent in the Islamic culture.

I found the two movies we watched in class very interesting. The first movie about Quran recitation was quite appealing and a bit entertaining as well. I was in awe of the dedication the kids put into memorizing the Quran and then reciting specific verses under so much pressure. The movie also reminded me how important memorizing and reciting the Quran is to the Islamic faith and for the everyday Muslim. The second movie, A Separation, depicted a couple undergoing marital struggles in Iran. We didn’t finish the movie, but it was nevertheless very interesting and has me hooked as to what will happen next. It got me thinking about the concept of taking care of one’s parents and one’s spouse at the same time. If an individual is married but has a significantly ill parent, how does the dynamic between the two married individuals change to accommodate that variable? Unfortunately, I feel like many of us will have to face that prospect: having to at times choose between our parents and our spouses. Overall, the movie looks very promising and I’m looking forward to finishing it.

In a response to redjohnlives: I would agree with you in that the musicality of the Quran is quite intriguing. No doubt the words themselves are beautiful, but when those words are read out loud, the words become something even greater. There is a new element to those words when read out loud. I personally find it intriguing when one is reading the Quran and come upon verses that have a sort of rhyme (almost like a poem) and it forces one to create a neat flow in reading/recitation. The Quran is truly a wonderful and transformative text. In the movie, it was indeed neat to hear the different styles of recitation from the different competitors. Each had their own style; there was a diversity in recitation.


In class this week we watched two movies. I personally like the first one more because it showed how early Muslims begin loving and living the Quran. The contest held in Egypt was very well organized and I thought it was amazing that people from all over the world gathered at this competition to show how devoted they are to Islam. The children competing were the most impressive to me. They managed to memorize the entire Quran, some without flaw. But my favorite thing of all that is a common thread with all of the contestants is that even when they fail or lose the competition, they all went back to their home countries and continued reading the Quran and practicing Islam, possibly even more so than they had before if that is possible.

In response to cookiemonster1234, I too, know that there is a reason for singing sacred texts coming from a Catholic background, but I had no idea about the complexity involved with reciting the Quran. Tajweed is using the different spots of the mouth nose and throat to properly recite the words of the Quran. So not only are these adolescents memorizing a long book but they are learning and properly executing the way in which to recite what they have memorized. Like I mentioned earlier, the devotion these young Muslims have for their religion is absolutely amazing and I condone them for all of their hard work and dedication.