“TaqabbalAllah [May Allah accept],” said the pious Egyptian teacher after listening to me recite a juzz today. This was a truly significant moment to me. Momentous because it was the first time I ever heard a teacher saying that to me, when I’ve probably recited hundreds of ajzaa (pl. of juzz) in my hifth career. Sometimes I desired to be acknowledged for reciting well when I knew did a good job, but as I sit here and reflect, I recognise that my intentions were all wrong. I should have desired to hear “taqabbalAllah.” I ought to have hoped in my heart for Allah’s acceptance, every.single.time.  I knew this but I tend to forget, and I need to be reminded all the time. When I studied at my Qur’an translation school and joined the MSA, I was reminded all the time. I guess those were supposed to be my training grounds, and my real test came when I was on my own, in the same way your mother reminds you not to go near danger when you’re a kid, so you no longer need the reminder when you’re a grown up.

The pious Egyptian teacher and I travel in the same lift club, and later on, towards the end of our looong drive home, I expressed my tiredness. She responded again, “TaqabbalAllah.”At the time, I thought she meant may Allah accept my fasting, but I’m sure she also meant may Allah accept my sacrifice of my time and energy to travel to and from my hifdh school and accept from me my being a student of the Qur’an.

On the way home, I try to help her with her English, even though I’m no English teacher and I can barely speak Arabic, and she’s grateful to me. She has no idea how grateful I am to her for being my teacher. Not for being my new assistant teacher at school, but for teaching me, rather reminding me, of the purpose of life. For reminding me that all that matters is Allah’s acceptance of our deeds.

TaqabbalAllahu minnee wa min kum – May Allah accept from me and from you. Ameen.