using toys to make learning fun

Project Background

ABOUT THE “READ WITH MEANING” PROJECT

Read With Meaning is a one man labour of love, started in 2010. It contains over 1000 illustrations of verses from the Holy Quran, constructed and photographed entirely by Mezba. It is the largest, most comprehensive blog for pictures depicting stories from the Holy Quran, translated and with exegesis, maintained entirely by Mezba. The website was awarded the prestigious Brass Crescent Award in 2011, winning in the Best New Blog category. Mezba’s work was featured in Muslimfest 2012 and 2013, a world renowned two-day exhibition in the Greater Toronto Area that celebrates the best in Muslim arts and entertainment. The site has also been highlighted in various blogs and publications such as Albawaba, AMuslima, Godbricks, Iqra.ca, Khaleejesque, MuslimMatters, Philosufi, The Purple Journal and Muslimness.

Follow ‘Read With Meaning’ on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/readwithmeaning
Twitter: @quran4kids
Blog: https://readwithmeaning.wordpress.com/

WHY PORTRAY THE HOLY QURAN WITH TOYS?

I did this primarily for two groups.

One, Muslims who usually just read the Noble Book in Arabic without understanding a word of what they are reciting by rote. Primarily kids, who are taught from an early age that it is more important to read the Holy Quran than to understand it. They seem to have taken the first revealed word – “Read” – a little too literally! It’s hard to get kids to read, so with a visual aid perhaps they would be more interested in finding out the meaning of the words behind their prayers.

Second, for people who may not read the Holy Quran at all, such as non-Muslims. Many have a negative impression of Muslims in general, and I hope this site, with the words of God visually represented, helps in them seeing what we hold holy in a better light.

FACEBOOK GROUP

You can click on the following link to go the Facebook page for this blog. You can post your questions/suggestions there and connect with other readers.

54 responses

  1. yasmeen

    Congratulations! This is a great idea and a wonderful product. May Allah(SWT) reward you for your pure intentions and efforts. Keep up the good work and give us more!!!

    November 8, 2010 at 11:53 am

    • Thank you. I should have some more posts shortly, so please do subscribe to the RSS feed if you haven’t already, and please do continue to tell others about the site as well as give me suggestions. Regards.

      November 9, 2010 at 10:21 am

  2. This is really good Mezba, a very visual way of understanding the Quran.

    November 13, 2010 at 9:31 am

  3. Thank you Sumera for your link.

    November 13, 2010 at 10:56 am

  4. isheeta

    This is incredible, Mezba. MashAllah!

    Have you heard of the 99 Superheroes Comic book? It was first talked about in a TED Convention.

    They got a lot pf publicity, I thought it was brilliant, for a lot of good reasons.

    InshAllah I hope the same applies for you, this is very novel and a brilliant idea.

    November 13, 2010 at 11:28 am

    • Thank you Isheeta! I am hoping this gets big too!

      November 13, 2010 at 1:09 pm

  5. n

    mezba i read your blog once in a blue moon and often dont agree with some of your views but i have a lot of respect for u mashallah.

    im so happy to see that yur doing something SO SUPER beneficial. i hope that this will be a way for you to earn Gods pleasure.

    UmBudiMary

    November 20, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    • Thank you, and ameen to your dua!

      November 21, 2010 at 1:22 am

  6. Cool, excellent idea!

    December 26, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    • Thank you Abu Pokemon.

      December 29, 2010 at 12:06 pm

  7. Maksuda

    I am surprised I did not notice it was you who actually created this page. Congratulations and mashallah. May you succeed in your good intentions…ameen.
    By the way, good photography!

    January 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    • Thank you, and welcome to my blog.

      January 4, 2011 at 10:42 pm

  8. This is really an awesome idea. My nephew would completely adore this, because he is in love with lego too. It’s just too bad that he only speaks Swedish.

    Anyway, keep the good work up!

    Peace,

    January 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    • Thanks for visiting.

      Yes, right now I am only planning on doing this site in English, but who knows what the future holds! Hopefully I will get some collaboration with speakers of other languages on this.

      January 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm

  9. Wow, M, I didn’t even know you had this blog- such an awesome, innovative idea!

    February 6, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    • Thank you Specs!

      February 6, 2011 at 9:58 pm

  10. Assalamu alaikum.

    Great site. May Allah help you come up with many more creative ideas to help us learn about the quran!
    Nayma

    February 12, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    • Thank you Nayma. Please do help in spreading the word about this site and keep visiting! 🙂

      February 12, 2011 at 11:43 pm

  11. Assalamu ‘alaykum:

    This blog is unique as it is necessary. I love finding new ways of helping Muslim children and teens learn, or as I prefer to say, become aware and confident, about Islam and being Muslim.

    JazakumuAllahu Khairan.

    March 2, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    • Thank you Saara for your kind words!!

      March 2, 2011 at 3:29 pm

  12. This really cheered me up, its so simple and fresh. I cant wait to road-test on my lego mad little boy. Keep up the good work
    Anaya

    March 2, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    • Thank you Anaya. I hope to continue with this work for quite some time!

      March 2, 2011 at 9:02 pm

  13. Adnan

    Wonderful! Maasha Allah

    April 3, 2011 at 6:15 am

    • Thank you Adnan.

      April 3, 2011 at 8:11 am

  14. Salman Hamid

    MashaAllah, it is a great job

    May 3, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    • Thank you, Salman. I try to publish once a week, and am planning to revamp the look of the site soon.

      May 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm

  15. Giju

    Mezbam
    you are dedicatedly doing it ,it is nice,as dedication for a good cause is always praiseworthy, I have seen your comments with regards to blashphemy ,I realyy appreciate your point of view, for me religion has been brought to make person an INSAN , Humanity is more important than the Religious boundries there is difference between a religion and spirituality , one is sectorial the other is universal,I would like to read your comments, you have said freedom of speech and expression with reasonable restrictions are important , this is good ,I am non Muslim but secular.
    Giju

    May 14, 2011 at 7:54 am

    • Hi, welcome to the blog, which comments regarding blasphemy are you referring to?

      May 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm

  16. You just won an award from Me. 🙂 Visit http://khanumsays.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/awards-night-awards-delight/ and accept your Shiny award.

    May 27, 2011 at 9:09 am

    • Thank you Khanum (or is it Pervisha?), although you have to make ONE correction – I am a guy! 🙂

      May 27, 2011 at 10:24 am

  17. Awesome idea to promote Islamic virtues. May Allah bless you.

    June 17, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    • Thank you Ali.

      June 17, 2011 at 9:04 pm

  18. Assalamu’alaykum.. I like this site, very inspiring..

    June 21, 2011 at 10:43 am

    • Thank you Cipto, and welcome to the blog.

      June 21, 2011 at 10:45 am

  19. Salam, the words of Qur’an are obviously the loftiest tools with which to work; but your imagination is also truly impressive, Masha Allah.
    I have added a link to your site on mine: http://thevictoryboys.com/literary-links/
    Jamal

    July 1, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    • Thank you Jamal. I will add it to the “Mentions” section of this blog.

      July 3, 2011 at 10:32 pm

  20. Assalamu Alaikum,
    I have seen your website https://readwithmeaning.wordpress.com/
    Mashallah Good work. May Allah give you strength to work more.
    I want to share an idea with you. our website alquranclasses provides online Quran learning classes for females and Children specifically. Our website is intended for those who live in Western Countries and I understand we face many difficulties in learning Quran in some countries, As it is difficult to arrange a home tutor. For this we provide online Quran learning courses.

    If you wish You can join our Affiliate Program in which you can Earn for each subscription you provide through your website. It’s a simple process in which you need to place a banner on your website and when any one of your website visitors will click on the banner and join our courses; you will be paid. InshaAllah.
    Here’s the detail of our affiliate Program:
    http://www.alquranclasses.com/contact-us/affiliate/

    please visit http://www.alquranclasses.com/ for details about the courses and how we work.
    If you find it useful, I can send you the details of joint collaboration.
    Waiting for your reply.

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/I.Luv.Holy.Quran
    http://www.facebook.com/alQuranclasses
    Jazakallah.

    February 14, 2012 at 7:42 am

  21. Muhammad Fahmi

    Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
    Dear Brothers and Sisters, please read with a humble and open heart.
    بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
    (In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful)

    ‘Holy Quran’ and ‘Holy Prophet’ in Islam

    In Christianity, there are terms such as Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost and Holy Bible. Muslims do not have anything in Islam called as The Holy Quran and The Holy Prophet. Yet, the term Holy Quran and Holy Prophet is commonly and widely used. We have to use the right words to describe The Quran and Prophet Muhammad SAW according to The Quran itself and Hadith.

    Earlier in The Glorious Quran, Allah SWT says:
    The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). [Al-Quran 2:185]

    ‘Holy’ in Arabic means ‘muqaddas’ (مقدس). There is no verse in The Noble Quran or in Hadith that says ‘Al-Quranum-Muqaddas’ (The Holy Quran) and ‘Ar-Rasulan-Nabiyyam-Muqaddas’ (The Messenger, The Holy Prophet). Allah SWT shortly describes The Quran as:
    ‘Quranun-Karim’ (Noble Quran) [Al-Quran 56:77]
    ‘Al-Quranil-Majid’ (The Glorious Quran) [Al-Quran 50:1]
    ‘Al-Qurani-zi-Zikr’ (The Quran Full of Reminder) [Al-Quran 38:1]
    ‘Quranun-Mubin’ (Clear Quran) [Al-Quran 36:69]
    ‘Al-Quranil-Hakim’ (The Wise Quran) [Al-Quran 36:2]
    ‘Al-Quranal-‘Adzim’ (The Great Quran) [Al-Quran 15:87]

    Surah (Chapter) 47, titled Muhammad, second verse is translated as:
    And those who believe and do righteous deeds and believe in what has been sent down upon Muhammad – and it is the truth from their Lord – He will remove from them their misdeeds and amend their condition. [Al-Quran 47:2]

    Short description of Prophet Muhammad SAW in The Noble Quran:
    ‘Ar-Rasulan-Nabiyyal-Umiyya’ (The Messenger, The Unlettered Prophet) [Al-Quran 7:157]
    ‘Khataman-Nabiyyina’ (Seal of The Prophets) [Al-Quran 33:40]
    ‘Ahmad’ (Highly Praised) [Al-Quran 61:6]
    ‘hakim’ (Judge) [Al-Quran 4:65, 24:51]
    ‘rasulin-karim’ (Noble Messenger) [Al-Quran 69:40]
    ‘raufur-rahim’ (Kind and Merciful) [Al-Quran 9:128]
    ‘Muhammadur-Rasulullah’ (Muhammad, The Messenger of Allah) [Al-Quran 48:29]
    ‘Abdullah’ (Slave of Allah) [Al-Quran 72:19]
    ‘muzakkirun’ (Reminder) [Al-Quran 88:21]
    ‘sirajan-muniran’ (Illuminating Lamp) [Al-Quran 33:46]
    ‘nazirun-mubin’ (Clear Warner) [Al-Quran 7:184]
    ‘basharun’ (Man) [Al-Quran 18:110]
    ‘rahmatal-lil’alamin’ (Mercy for all the worlds) [Al-Quran 21:107]
    ‘shahidan wa mubashiran wa naziran’ (Witness, Bearer of Glad Tidings and Warner) [Al-Quran 33:45]
    ‘nurun’ (Light) [Al-Quran 5:15]
    ‘burhanun’ (Convincing Proof) [Al-Quran 4:174]
    ‘uswatun hasanatun’ (Good Example) [Al-Quran 33:21]

    So if someone ask what is the holy book of a Muslim? Say it is The Noble Quran. This makes Al-Quran stands up in its own position. We do not have the authority to name it, call it or give it the title ‘The Holy Quran’ since Allah SWT and Prophet Muhammad SAW never used that term either.

    All good that is mentioned is from Allah SWT and all bad is from my own weaknesses. I apologize for any mistakes. Hope we can take sometime to ponder and ask more from an Imam or Ustadz regarding this issue. Please share with fellow Brothers and Sisters. May Allah SWT grant us understanding and guide us all. Amin Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.

    Wallahu ‘Alam (Allah SWT Knows Best)

    February 24, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    • It would be nice if the Muslim ummah did not quibble with minor matters but concentrated on the larger issues.

      February 25, 2012 at 12:09 am

    • I really appreciate the knowledge that was shared here. We should always be open and welcoming to any body who shares information that is not known widely. I really like this blog since we are all here to learn and share what we learn. Jazak Allah.

      April 20, 2014 at 8:29 pm

  22. Burak

    Salaam Alaikoem,

    MashaAllah keep up the good work. May Allah grant you for your work and help you. Greetings from Holland.

    March 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    • Thank you for your dua.

      March 17, 2012 at 6:18 pm

  23. Sophia

    Assalamu Alaikum.

    I love the concept behind this blog and the way the scenes were set up. Just curious, but how long did it approximately take you to photograph each surah?

    March 24, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    • Salaams Sophia. Each post takes a long time to shoot, edit and publish, which is why I do one or two a month.

      First I have to read two or three tafseers of the verses I want to portray so I have an idea of what is being conveyed here. Then I have to think, conceptualize and construct the lego, before photographing it, editing the pictures and typing up the verses. Only then is it ready to be published.

      If you go to the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/readwithmeaning of the blog there is an album called “The Making of”, do check it out.

      March 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm

  24. Anon

    Thank you – I’m 34 and found this to be very accessable – and it encourages me in my recent pursuit to improve my knowledge and start reading Arabic again. Not just for kids 🙂

    April 18, 2012 at 9:09 am

    • Thank you for your patronage. Please continue to read! 🙂

      April 19, 2012 at 11:39 am

  25. Sabira

    Salaam Alaikum,

    I was referred to this website just the other day… I have to say that I am just blown away!!!! It is absolutely FANTASTIC, AMAZING, GENIUS! I LOVE IT and can’t wait to read and learn about everything you’ve posted!

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    December 10, 2012 at 4:40 am

    • Thank you. Please keep me and my family in your prayers. InshAllah I will get back to more content in this blog in the new year.

      December 11, 2012 at 12:02 pm

  26. Woww! Love this!
    JazzakAllah Khairan Katsiran!

    January 13, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    • Thank you!

      December 13, 2013 at 3:56 pm

  27. BASSAM

    MAY ALLAH BLESS AND SAVE U

    January 29, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    • Thank you and ameen!

      December 13, 2013 at 3:56 pm

  28. Anisur Rahman

    Mezba,

    Very delighted to see your works. Go ahead, we expect more from you.Our dua always for you.

    Anis Uncle

    October 14, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    • Thank you uncle!

      December 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm

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