Inspired, moved and utterly humbled. This is how we felt while reading through the stories we received this year from applicants of the #TransformedByTheQuran competition. The way in which the verses of the noble Qur’an have manifested themselves in the lives of all those people around the world, transformed and provided them with means of spiritual healing, personal and social productivity at very tough times sometimes, have left us in awe, motivated and, again, inspired! This is the power and blessing of the Noble Qur’an.
So without further ado, we leave you with some of our top stories.
The Qur’an pulled me out of depression
Assalamu alaikum! I am 18 years old and two years ago, I was completely unhappy and sad all the time. I abused drugs and attempted suicide. I never prayed or made dua, until one night I watched a video about Jannah. It moved me so much. And one particular part of the Qur’an that transformed me was Surah Al Baqarah. When I read the translation, it made me want to get up and pray, but I still struggled with it. So, for one month I made dua in English for Allah to forgive me and guide me for being away from Him for way too long. Then one night, I got up and made salah – since then, my worship and belief in Allah grew, changing my character. I was happy and my heart was comfortable. To this day, I still struggle but I do not give up because Allah guided me and changed my life forever. I cannot imagine my life without Allah now and I am very thankful to be here today, alive and well, and it is all thanks to Allah helping me and making my spirituality grow. My relationship with my family is better and I can never thank Allah enough! He gave me life, He gave me a second chance to make my life better, and He let me praise Him for everything. I hope that my iman will grow and I plan to learn more about the Qur’an, so that my love for Allah will grow even more.
“This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 2]
Marwa, United States
Restoring relations with my father
For a long time, my dad and I shared a volatile and tense relationship. We argued all the time and I would justify my angry disrespect towards him by telling myself, “He should respect me as well”, and that, “what you give, you get.”
Until one day I attended a gathering and the following words of Allah were explained in great detail,
“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none besides Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them attain old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as] ‘uff’, and do not repel them, but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord! Have mercy upon them as they brought me up when I was small.” [Qur’an: 17, Verse 23 – 24]
I immediately felt ashamed and cried because of the burden of guilt that overcame me. I finally understood the honour that Allah has awarded not just to mothers, but to fathers as well. This verse had such a powerful impact on me that I vowed to change my attitude towards my dad. I finally understood how wrong I was and I wanted to mend things simply because it was the command of Allah .
I have never felt closer to Allah than in that moment of clarity. Since then, I have shared a beautiful relationship with my father. Allah has gifted me with such sabr that I cannot even begin to fathom how far I have come in respecting my dad.
Aaliah Mansoor, Madagascar
Walking away from anxiety towards a productive lifestyle
It’s hard to be productive if you’re constantly anxious. No matter how much effort you’ve put in, or how well you’ve studied, you may still end up panicking when the time for the real thing comes. For most of my life, this is how I dealt with any stressful situation; something as small as an exam would frighten me to the point where I could not bring myself to focus on answering well.
Somehow, this all changed when the Qur’an was no longer a Book I simply read but became the Book which spoke to me. The words began to comfort me and the Qur’an became my refuge and friend.
Whenever anxiety threatened to overwhelm me I would recite the du’a of Moosa [AS],
[Moosa] said, “My Lord, expand for me my breast [with assurance]. And ease for me my task. And untie the knot from my tongue. That they may understand my speech.” [Qur’an: Chapter 20, Verse 25 – 28]
The effect of these few verses is incredible. Suddenly, I’m able to move beyond my expected scope of skills and reach further towards my potential. Things I never thought of accomplishing become possible and things I’m used to doing become even easier. Don’t underestimate the power of Allah’s language. If you don’t believe enough in yourself, believe that the Qur’an is sufficient to bring about the change which will continue to empower you as a productive Muslim.
Hana El Sayed, Egypt
Stronger through the afflictions
I recently went through a painful divorce, and suddenly found myself a single mother of four. I never thought I could pull it through but, alhamdulillah, we are doing well beyond expectations. The verse “Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity”, [Qur’an: Chapter 2, 286] was -and still is- a source of inspiration.
I am a much stronger woman both emotionally and spiritually, and my children are well-adapted. Reading the Qur’an daily is now a part of my life and it will continue to be for the rest of my days, in sha Allah!
Rabi Ahmad Mahdi, Nigeria
What we thought was a punishment brought us closer to Allah
In December, 2015, a disastrous fire left my family and I without any worldly belongings. All that remained was my Qur’an and my prayer mat. I was not at home with my family when this tragedy occurred.
When I received the news, I immediately thought of the following words of Allah ,
Even though I reminded myself of these words, I began to question Allah’s Will. I began losing weight and constantly wondered why this tragedy happened. One day, I came across the following words of the Qur’an:
These words of Allah shook me to my very core. They gave me strength and hope. My attitude regarding the fire changed and this change motivated a positive change in my family as well. What we had assumed was a punishment from Allah was actually a test. One morning, the Qur’an again spoke to us:
“For indeed, with every hardship comes an ease. Indeed, with hardship comes ease.”[Qur’an: Chapter 94, Verse 5 – 6]
Subhanallah, from that moment, our lives began to change. We had never been an overly spiritual family with regards to fasting and ibadah. Alhumdulillah, this year Ramadan, our entire family began to fast with a serious commitment to do it purely for the pleasure of Allah .
Mahama. A. Abu, Ghana
Increasing marital love this Ramadan!
I was reminded of this ayah when my husband left, what we call ‘love notes’, for me before he left for university.
“They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them.” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 187]
This ayah is so famous. Everyone knows it. We may not know where it is in the Qur’an, but we have most likely heard it before.
But I never realized that this is part of the longer ayah about being intimate with your spouse in Ramadan. It actually is part of a long ayah but the significance of its particular position never really hit me.
It comes in the section of ayah that speaks about fasting during Ramadan. Before this ayah, Allah speaks about those who are exempted from fasting and then Allah tells us how He will answer us if we call Him. It speaks about dua and that He is near.
This made me realize that there has to be a connection between increasing our taqwa and having a good husband and wife relationship.
As we spend this month fasting and in dhikr, praying and reading Qur’an, we should see that reflect in our marriage. Our God consciousness should make us more conscious of how we treat our spouses. These acts of worship should help us improve our character and this should be most prevalent in how we speak and behave with our spouses.
These acts of worship shouldn’t be just a ritual we do but we should put it into action in our daily lives. So as we read about characteristics of the believers, we have to implement them. As we read about the diseases of the heart, we have to try and remove it from within ourselves.
Reflecting on this ayah alone tells us so much about how to be with our spouses. We should look for the good in them. We should cover their faults from others meaning we shouldn’t tell others about things that annoy you about your spouse. Beautify your spouse.
It is such a blessed time to work on your marriage. There are no shayateen to whisper in your ear to cause disunity between you. As we are more God conscious, we are more aware that Allah is watching us, so we should behave in such a way that we will be happy to know that Allah is watching.
Use this month to also work on your marriage. As you improve your relationship with Allah , also improve your relationship with your spouse.
Neelam Hussain, UK
Correcting my behavior
Thinking back to my childhood, I know that I was quite disrespectful and sometimes cruel to my parents. I had no respect for them. I was a person who spoke in a crude tongue when with my friends.
Upon coming across the following words of Allah ,
‘And [recall] when We took the covenant from the Children of Israel, [enjoining upon them], “Do not worship except Allah ; and to parents do good and to relatives, orphans, and the needy. And speak to people good [words] and establish prayer and give zakah.” Then you turned away, except a few of you, and you were refusing.’ [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 83]
I began to reflect on my behavior and realized that I was not following the commands of Allah in many aspects of my life. And so I began to strive to change my attitude. I stumbled upon this verse during the holy month of Ramadan and it was indeed a blessing from Allah .
Alia Saeed, Kuwait
From a revengeful to a peaceful person…through the Qur’an
I believed in revenge and almost never understood the concept of forgiving those who purposely hurt me. Many of my non-Muslim co-workers promoted the idea of “an eye for an eye” and in my upset state, I believed that it was fair and just.
One day, I came across Surah AshShuraa,
“And those who, when tyranny strikes them, defend themselves. And the retribution for an evil act is an evil one like it, but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation, his reward is [due] from Allah. Indeed, He does not like wrongdoers. And whoever avenges himself after having been wronged, those have not upon them any cause [for blame]. The cause is only against those who wrong people and tyrannize upon earth without right. Those will have a painful punishment. And whoever is patient and forgives, indeed that is of the matter requiring determination.” [Qur’an: Chapter 42, Verse 39-43]
Subhan Allah, Allah explained it so clearly and explicitly. Indeed all knowledge is with Allah . Within these verses, I found the hikmah (wisdom) of patience and forgiveness. I learned that retaliation against tyranny is not wrong when it is done in a just manner; that the retribution of an evil act is an evil one just like it; but most importantly, I learned that choosing to pardon and reconcile is recommended to one who desires best reward: the reward of Allah .
This moment of clarity marked the end of revenge and the beginning of exercising patience and forgiveness for me. My lesson is simply to remind myself of my number 1 goal: to attain the reward of Allah .
Hoda Omar Hassan, Canada
From disappointment to deeper faith
I am a high school graduate and I write about a time in my life that was quite difficult and stressful. The pressure I felt almost led me to abandon Allah and my prayers but alhumdulillah, the following verse kept me steadfast,
“My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer and (many) from my descendants. Our Lord, accept my supplication.”[Qur’an: Chapter 14, Verse 40]
So I continued praying but with a hardened heart. I carried on in this fashion for some time; angry at Allah for the disappointments I had experienced. One day though, my heart yearned to read the Qur’an and I succumbed. I opened the Book and alhumdulillah, what I read healed my hurt and soothed my heart.
“So remember Me and I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me. O you who believe, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.”[Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 152 – 153]
Up until that moment, I ignored my Lord’s decree thinking that He had treated me unfairly. But He reminded me that He never abandons His servants. My perception of Him changed and my heart turned to Him once again.
Thraiye Seif Hemed, Tanzania
Learning to trust Allah’s Divine plan
I was scared. My life had just changed drastically: I had quit my job, I had no money to continue with my studies and I had no I idea what I was going to do.
I had been wanting to do take step for a long time; take a risk; a leap of faith; to become a better Dr, to learn more, to be able to have more knowledge to help sick people, to travel and have the chance to have a higher education. But this step caused me distress.
What added to my distress was that I had to say my good-byes, begin my journey in a few days, and worry about all those extra dollars I so desperately needed.
Then I came across these words of Allah ,
and my heart melted. I felt as though Allah was talking directly to me. And then I understood: my wealth, my property, my life and my everything was all in the hands of Allah . He was the Ultimate Provider.
Why was I worried? Why was I scared?
All I needed to do was trust in Allah and His Divine plan for my life. He would only give me what was written for me. I just needed to make the effort and trust in His plan. For now I truly understood that He was the best of planners.
Amina Negm, Australia
From the best song to the best verse
A year ago, I was having a regular Ramadan. I opened my Qur’an and read a juz’ every day just like I used to, but then I decided that I want things to be different.
I wanted to understand what I’m reading. Because I didn’t know that people like Nouman Ali Khan existed, I went with the traditional Ibn Katheer tafsir and struggled immensely as any 17 year-old would with the language of this exegesis book. I wasn’t expecting anything in me to change, I just wanted to understand what is being said to people by Allah, and it took me the rest of the year to be able to find out what the essence of the Qur’an is.
I used to listen to music a lot. Music to me was the ultimate answer to all my problems; the beat and the lyrics can ease any problems I am having… or do they?
At the same time, I had regular fights with my mom, my friends and even with myself. The music made me feel understood but it didn’t provide me with a solution, I needed an answer.
Throughout this year, I opened the Qur’an and read it deeply–which was unusual since the only time the Qur’an and I met was in Ramadan. But this year, I experienced something new and life changing and that is “the good suhba” (righteous companions).
Through them, I was able to see that there is more that I can do for Allah and that there is a lot to learn in this deen. But the highlight was how they solved their problems with the Qur’an. In my senior year in high school, I read “the secret”, one of the ideas they talked about was the visionary board which is basically a board where you pin down everything you see yourself doing in the future, your goals in general. I loved that idea and quickly pinned my future car, house, closet, etc. By the middle of this year, however, I started seeing things differently. I understood from what I read in the Qur’an that those are not the goals we should be seeking, that there is an afterlife we need to work for and that the wealth we wish to accumulate should be accompanied by our desire to make life better for the less fortunate.
I tore down everything I had on that board, they didn’t resemble me anymore.
I pinned on my new visionary board all the verses where Allah describes the behaviors and attitudes of the believers and also every verse that would solve problems we regularly face; verses that command us to be patient and others that describe the vanity of this dunya and the people who are our best companions.
The Qur’an became a new book to me, it became my guide and solace in times of need.
I now know which verse I need to listen to when I’m faced with a problem.
Mariam Moemen, Egypt
The lecture that transformed me
All the good that is in me and my life today, I will credit it to the Qur’an. But like all stories, this had a starting point. My relationship with the Qur’an started with understanding Surat Al-kahf.
I listened to Nouman Ali Khan for the first time in February 2014. His way of teaching impressed me, so I started searching for all his lectures on the Qur’an. From those lectures, I learned to see the Qur’an in a new way. What I found difficult to comprehend before now became quite easy.
I remember that the first surah I listened to was Surah Al-Kahf; just a small excerpt of it. It was an action done on a whim but the beauty of it brought an everlasting change in me. To this day, this surah remains my favorite and it has helped me many times since then.
I remember when I was a kid and would get ill, my mother would tell me the story of the people of the cave from Surat Al-kahf and how nobody knows how many they were exactly. To me, it was just an interesting story, one of those fairy tales our childhood is made of- which doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of life.
But Nouman Ali Khan’s lecture changed that. He taught me the message that I had missed all along, the message I needed to understand the most.
He said that people often overlook the core meaning and message of life while giving great attention to irrelevant details; like the number of men in the people of the cave story. The story is supposed to teach us the difference between what is important and what needs to be disregarded; it teaches us how to prioritize. Its message is about what matters the most, and about accepting that certain matters will remain only in the Knowledge of Allah.
I plugged my earphones and listened to this man unveil the secrets of life to me… The biggest lesson to me was from this Surah that:
“Only Allah knows the correct number of the men who were in the cave and what their location was exactly. He decided to keep this information to Himself. Now, we need to pay attention to the message that was sent to us that concerns us the most. Why are we so curious about irrelevant details while ignoring the message directed to us?
We, humans, fight over details and ignore the essence of what is being told to us. If a teacher tells you a story about a great man, what will the first question that comes to your mind about him? What color shoes he wore? Or how did he find meaning in life? We need to prioritize!”
I pressed the pause button and stared at the screen. I froze while listening to his explanation.
Everything I ever believed in-or so I thought- was a lie?!
I felt empty handed; I was in a race and I was running in the wrong direction, my back facing the finish line; distracted by all the stupid details/things in life that didn’t matter.
I realized that we don’t follow the message of the Qur’an, but the society. We don’t follow the Sunnah, but our respective sects! We don’t see the big picture, but the small empty spaces in it…
That day became my turning point. I promised myself that I would stop being a sheep that mindlessly follows the rest of the herd.
Now, two years later, I have tried my best to fulfil that promise. Who I’m today is very different to who I was before, Alhamdulillah.
My life stopped being meaningless and I found a new appreciation for all things. Now, if I don’t get some materialistic luxury, I remember that in a world where many people are dying of hunger, war and suffering, will I fret over why there was more salt in the food or why I didn’t have the latest iPhone? Will I be so low and care not about what matters? The most?!
This helps me be grateful to Allah even when things seem bleak because I keep my focus on what matters. I have learned to love unconditionally and internalize that what Allah has is better and lasts longer:
“So whatever thing you have been given – it is but [for] enjoyment of the worldly life. But what is with Allah is better and more lasting for those who have believed and upon their Lord rely.” [Qur’an: Chapter 42, Verse 36]
I have learned to dedicate every action and every breath of mine to the One that it belongs to; Allah , and have taken on projects that are not just about myself, but about my fellow brothers and sisters in the community too.
Shazia Mahmood Rehman, Pakistan
Salah and distractions don’t mix!
During a period where my iman had receded, I needed a verse to lift me and I came across this:
After pondering upon this verse and looking at all the distractions around me, I realized I had to part with them and focus on dedicated worship to my Lord. True success lies in sincere salah. Ever since I’ve put aside the distractions, I’m getting a better sense of direction, as well as being more productive through khushu (humble submission) and prioritizing of salah.
Rohail Sheikh, United Kingdom
A verse that opens doors for me
The verse that had a profound impact on me and transformed me is verse 7 of Surat Ibrahim:
“And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you (in favour); but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’” [Qur’an: Chapter 14, Verse 7]
In a Yoruba adage (in Nigeria) it is said that: Be thankful to get more.
I have always made it a habit of giving thanks to Allah for whatever little or large things that He has blessed me with. The verse above resonated with me in the sense that we need to be grateful to Allah whether the situations we find ourselves in are good or bad.
Although it might be difficult to show gratitude when one is down, but by making it a habit, we get to be thankful to Him in all circumstances. This verse gave me the assurance that as I please my Lord by being grateful, He shall increase me. I am rest assured that His words are definitely true and shall come to pass. He shall increase me for being grateful to Him, for my husband, my parents, my children, my teachers, my neighbours, my colleagues and so on.
The proclamation of Allah in this verse always gives me calmness of the heart whenever I remember it, and it gives me happiness because as I obey my Lord by showing gratitude, He still repays me by an increment in the good of my worldly pursuits and other abundance in the hereafter.
Also, the verse helps me to connect socially with people by showing gratitude to them, which in turn improves our relationships.
Whenever I remember or receive a blessing of Allah on me, I make the sajadatal shukr (Prostration of Gratitude), and this has become a habit.
I’ve always experienced a sense of relief whenever someone comes to my aid by providing something I needed.
I experienced one of those moments of relief recently at the beginning of Ramadan 1437. There was an online business course I have been eyeing for a while, but I was disappointed when I realized I couldn’t afford it because it was too expensive. I had to let go of it and have hope to get another one even though I wasn’t happy. The surprise came when I found another platform offering a similar course for a lesser price; I was ecstatic. Another astounding thing happened; before I decide on joining that course for the price of $497, the coach further reduced the price to $97 for those who joined one of her challenges. The feeling was just indescribable! I gave thanks to Allah and continued to show my gratitude by having my trust in Him always.
Afegbua Raheemat, Nigeria
I only complain to Him!
In the beautiful month of Ramadan 2013, I started to practice Islam and decided to take it more seriously. Alhamdulilah I started to pray all of my five daily prayers, kept optional fasts, gave in charity and read the Qur’an daily. I was on a beautiful journey but then life threw many curveballs at me. During this time my friends, started to abandon me as I was becoming ‘too religious’ for their liking, I was sick quite a lot, I was facing a very difficult time at work and I was suffering from a lot of financial problems.
Then, I came across a beautiful ayah in Surah Yusuf:
Life was getting really tough for me and I was hitting rock bottom. I poured my heart out to Allah and I told Him all of my problems. I found so much tranquillity and peace in my heart and it was a feeling I cannot describe. This ayah transformed my life because it has made me solely reliant on Allah . Now, whenever I have a problem I go straight to Him. I don’t tell my problems or sorrows to anyone else.
From all the hardships I was facing in life I realised that people will always disappoint you, whether it is intentional or unintentional. But what we do not realise as Muslims is that Allah will never disappoint. Even though I am still going through a tough time, but my heart is at peace knowing that I can tell Allah everything that is bothering me. Through this ayah, my relationship with Allah has grown much stronger, and I talk to Allah like He is my best friend. Every single thing in my life, whether it is good or bad, I try my best to seek His guidance and talk to Him about it. This ayah has put my heart at ease, and not only has it consoled me mentally and emotionally but also it has boosted my spiritual connection with Allah . Now when I make dua, I always seek forgiveness which is something I was weak at doing before. I also try my best to do as many good deeds as I can, hoping that Allah will alleviate my problems.
Bina Begum, United Kingdom