Have you ever felt like you weren't sure how to connect with the Qur'an on a personal level? Or how to delve into an ayah and get as much out of it in a short amount of time? As a mother of a busy toddler, I've felt this way and despite the many Qur'an courses and lectures happening, I still needed a way to connect with the Qur'an on my own. I was thinking to myself how I can make the Qur'an a part of my daily self-care while also doing what I love - writing in my planner! It's one thing to read ayaat and reflect on them on a surface level, but I noticed when I dig into each ayah using the SOAP method in my planner, I find so much more meaning and connection throughout my day.
So what does SOAP stand for?
- Subject / Ayah: Write down the Qur'anic ayah you wish to study that day. Focus on each word as you write it down. I prefer to write the translation of the ayah and pick out Arabic words that I want to understand further if they are new to me.
- Observation: Using any of the prompts below, journal your observations of the ayah.
- What stands out to you in this ayah?
- Are there any new words?
- What is one thing you didn't notice before?
- Is there repetition, contrast, or comparison?
- Look into the context in the tafseer (explanation) and reasons for revelation if available.
- Look into any particular virtues of that ayah or surah and note them down. (Ex.: Reciting Surah Al Mulk provides protection in the grave)
- Application: Now ask yourself how the ayah applies to your own life. What are the takeaways for you? Is there an instruction, encouragement, or warning? What can you change moving forward after learning about this ayah?
- Prayer: Thank Allah Almighty for opening your heart to the Qur'an and ask for increased love for the Qur'an, wisdom, and strength to apply what you learn. Write down specific reminders for du'as / prayers to make that remind you of this ayah.
Why does the SOAP method work for Qur'an study and journaling?
I've found is that it helps you interact with the Qur'an one ayah at a time and it's all about applying Allah's directives in ones life. It's also one that can take as little less time as 10 minutes to write out or as long as you'd like depending on the research you do.
What do you need to start?
To start this process, all you need is your planner, a Qur'an, as well as a translation you can easily understand. You can use Quran.com, or my personal favourites - The M.A.S Abdel Haleem Translation by Oxford Press and Mufti Taqi Usmani's Tafseer. To look up the root letters of an Arabic word that is new to me, I use Project Root Word. Also have with you a couple of pens and highlighters - I recommend using finer tip pens to help you write more details. I always use black ink for writing and coloured ink for acronyms or quotes.
As you write each section, simply add the acronym letter S O A P where it corresponds on the left side of your planning page. Get creative and write short quotes in different fonts as your your BIG take-away so they stand out to you as you scan your page.
If you don't already have the Seeking Jannah Planner, the planner shop is currently on pause for summer but they'll be back in August inshaAllah. You can certainly start using this method in any vertical format worksheet as well, though this method fits perfectly in the Seeking Jannah Planners' vertical undated layout.
For the 'weeks' focus' section, you can write down which surah you are focusing on. And in the daily date boxes, I usually put in the numerical surah and ayah number for that day. I personally don't do consecutive ayaat for my journaling. For example, if I studied ayah 7 of a surah, I may not do ayah 8 next as it's possible the context was easily understandable or the subject was the same, so in that case, I will skip to ayah 12 or 18.
What are the benefits of Qur'an journaling consistently?
- Expression of your personal connection with the Qur'an and expressing any deeper thoughts in a private writing space.
- Expression of thoughts and reactions towards Allah's words and examples, towards yourself, and others.
- An opportunity to reflect & sort out your experience (past, present, or future) as it relates to the Qur'an.
- Finding themes that emerge which point to personal challenges, resilience or strengths
- Finding self-compassion or compassion for others
- More wise and Allah-centric decision-making going forward
- Seeking Allah's pleasure through giving time and attention to His words.
This is not an exhaustive list, but I encourage you to give this simple method a try and you'll be surprised at how great it feels inshaAllah for your heart, mind, and soul.
Till next time,