All praises are due to Allah Subhanahu Wataala, the Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is no god but Allah and I also testify that Muhammad (s) is the Messenger of Allah. May Allah Subhanahu Wataala bless and grant peace to Muhammad (s), to his family and his companions and to all the righteous followers until the Day of Resurrection.
Reading is an essential skill ordained and blessed on humanity by Allah Subhanahu Wataalla as was so clearly indicated to the Prophet (s) when the first ayahs were revealed.
However in this day and age we find that it is difficult to find the time from work and family commitments to do essential reading especially that of the Holy Quran, Hadith and the works of many Muslim Scholars.
This problem faces us all and has been tackled only partially and I would like to share one possible solution with you today, InshaAllah.
Lets look at our lives today. Between breakfast in the morning and sleep at night we would be lucky to squeeze in the obligatory Salaat which probably takes no more than 30 minutes in total of all our time one 24-hour day. Yes it is sad that we cannot spend more than this very limited time each day.
We often excuse ourselves as being fully occupied at work or may claim to be under some form of supervision and are therefore unable to leverage our spare time to improve our Imaan and understanding of Islam - the only road to salvation of our souls. Time is quickly eluding all of us and especially for those who understand the consequences of not achieving our religious obligations and building a stock of good deeds that may speak well of us on Yawmal Kiyama.
I recognise that most people have to travel to work either on public transport or in a car. The journey too and from is on average greater than 1 hour which means it is more time than we get for Salaat! It has been shown that our hearing is highly developed and we can simultaneously drive and listen to the radio or cassette player. This concept is well developed and I admire the efforts made by those who help make and distribute recordings on audiocassettes of lectures on Dawaah.
Here lies the opportunity. If we could listen to what we need to read, we would have an hour of reading that can be achieved in our drive/travel to and from work each day.
Most of the reading material that would be of immediate interest in this age is now available in electronic text form on the Internet or on CD-ROM and other software products.
This is the starting point because an average Personal Computer can easily synthesize intelligible speech from text. This speech can be recorded on audiocassette (which is re-useable) and listened to in the car or on a portable cassette player. Listening to this synthesized speech needs some getting used to but it does work with most people adapting over a period of 1 to 2 hours of attentive listening. The software that is needed to produce speech from text is available free of charge and can be offered on CD or by link to the Internet for interested persons to install on their computer and also perhaps using the local mosques for distribution.
There is also a lot of recorded listening content available in ready video and audio cassette form as well as in Real Audio Compressed formats for use on the PC. This content may be directly used without having to go through the Text to Speech Synthesis.
The Holy Quran is especially available in its recited form both in Arabic by various Qari's as well as in English Translation recitations to make the scripture more practical for persons who can understand English through the use of a PC.
The sound produced by a PC is easy to record through a sound cable tether between the PC and the tape recorder which is quite inexpensive say $5.00 from a hobby shop.
There is an even simpler method of connecting that sound to a Radio Cassette. We have discovered that there is a $48 Device available from Dick Smith Electronics (an Electronics Hobby store) that allows sound from a PC to be transmitted as an FM Radio Signal. This signal can be received anywhere in the house and can be listened to on a bedside clock radio or recorded on any radio cassette recorder placed anywhere in the house.
Its is our hope that Muslims will be able to lead the world again and InshaAllah if we spend more time learning and teaching our deen and practicing it we would be on our way to that endeavor. Our Deen must be complemented by our worldly skills and all Muslims must help each other to become better in every way possible. We need to interact and share our knowledge in all areas to ensure that as an Ummah we all proceed forward with the Grace of Allah Subhanahu Wataala
In order for the Muslim Ummah to receive the largest blessing and mercy given to mankind by Allah Subhanahu Wataala, we have to be able to read and make the universal teachings of Islam practical. We cannot achieve this without reading or listening in the way described or without changing our lifestyles to simply make more time available to do this.
I thank you for taking the time to listen to these special points that basically say - Make Technology work for you and make your Enlightenment in Islam a priority and find the time that you do not otherwise have. The technique described would work equally well with all forms of higher study and other general and special reading that one might wish to do. Lets use the opportunity of living in an advanced country to improve our own knowledge and eventually help those that are less fortunate around the world.
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