All praises and thanks are to Allah (SWT) Who blessed us with the Glorious Qur’an. Abundant salutations be upon our beloved master, Nabi Muhammad (SAW).
I remember that when I made the intention to do hifdh, the person encouraged me to attend a particular hifdh school and mentioned that students there had finished in one, one and a half or two years. So there’s a perception that hifdh, the memorisation of the Qur’an, has a time-frame, and the quicker someone finishes, the more impressive they are. Some say that three years is average, so if someone takes longer than that, they’re kind of delayed or slow or thick. In reality, I don’t believe there should be time-frame or an “average” or “norm.” I personally found knowing about this notion of a time-frame to be detrimental, as I put undue pressure on myself to complete in less than three years. Some people may take two years, whilst some may take eight years. In reality, everyone is different – let’s appreciate that. We should stop with the stories about people who finish in two months. I believe they’re especially gifted and blessed. (May Allah (SWT) bless us all.) However, the time-frame someone completes in should not be the yardstick of hifdh success. Often those who complete quickly actually need to put in less effort than those who take longer, but “Allah doesn’t value achievement, He values effort” –Ust. Nouman Ali Khan.
Another perception is that the best time to memorise is before Fajr. It’s no doubt the most blessed time, but is it the best time? In reality, not everyone is able to wake up and function properly that early in the morning. Again, everyone is different, and everyone has an optimal time for them. Some people are early birds whilst others are night owls. You need to figure what time of the day works best for you. I happen to be a night owl, but I used to feel guilty about the fact that I couldn’t wake up ridiculously early, until I met a fellow night owl who also successfully memorised the Qur’an. Now don’t use this as an excuse not to wake up early – first try it. There was a period of time that I woke up at 4am and went to bed at 10pm, and although it worked, it simply wasn’t sustainable for me.
Another perception is that hifdh schools are spiritually uplifting environments that put you on an ȋmān high all the time. People think it must be amazing to be at such a place reciting all day. The reality is kind of different, at least in my own experiences. I rarely found students of exemplary character. I rarely found teachers to be motivating and reminding students to renew their intention or to ask Allah’s acceptance after reciting. After I completed, during my tamat phase, I had an Egyptian teacher who came to help out, and after I recited my portion to her, she said “TaqabbalAllah.” She didn’t say “well done.” She didn’t say “repeat that juz.” She said, “May Allah accept [from you]”. This really struck me, because it was the first time a teacher gave me this reminder. It’s not about how well you recited for your teacher, but whether Allah accepts your recitation from you. On that note, beg Allah SWT for His acceptance always, and I remind myself first. I saw the Egyptian teacher at a shopping mall after I tamatted, and again, all she said was “TaqabbalAllah.”
Parents & Motivation
Some students need pressure to succeed whereas others need to feel free of pressure. Some parents put tons of pressure whilst other parents don’t really care – they treat the hifdh school like a drop off zone. It’s important for parents to know their child in this regard. Provide rewards for motivation but not to the extent that you’re bribing them.
The Role of Parents
I’ve found that often parents are not made aware of what is expected of them. Even though I was an independent teenager/young adult when I was memorising, I still needed my mother to check my lessons the night before class. The nature of hifdh is that you’re never prepared enough. So young children who cannot sit on their own have an even greater need for a stay-at-home parent to help them, and if that’s not possible, an employed tutor on a daily basis.
People expect hifdh students to become perfectly practicing Muslims because they’re doing hifdh. I also used to have this view but I realised how judgemental this is and no longer think this way. I heard of a case of twin sisters where one was doing hifdh and the other one wasn’t. The one who was doing hifdh was forced to wear hijab whilst the other one wasn’t. What I find problematic about this is that both of them should be encouraged to wear hijab and strive to become better Muslims, not only one just because she is doing hifdh. The reality is that you are still the same person when you start and it’s up to you to strive to embody the Qur’an that you’re memorising – it’s not an automatic process. Don’t try to change overnight, and don’t expect others to either. Take it in stages. And don’t do it to live up to expectations of other people but for Allah (SWT). For example, instead of listening to music – and let’s face it, hifdh students and huffaadh listen to music – listen to nasheeds with instruments until you can wean yourself onto non-instrumental nasheeds. Let’s remind ourselves that sins prevent us from memorising successfully. I know a girl who wanted to break up with her boyfriend shorly before her tamat (hifdh graduation) just so that Allah would make her tamat easy for her.
Memorising gets easier
They say memorising gets easier because you get the hang of it as you go along. It didn’t get that much easier for me and the workload only got more with every additional juz. It was a tough journey from beginning to “end,” and it still is challenging to maintain now. I don’t share this to put you off, but to make you realise what’s ahead of you. Allah won’t hand you Jannah on a silver platter, so this is the sacrifice you just gotta make. My advice would be to stick through it, but also enjoy it.
Go easy on yourself, for it truly is a lifelong commitment. I wish I could have caught a glimpse of my future while I was doing hifdh in order to comprehend life out
Once you finish you’re a haafidh/ah
Often students rush to finish because they have to meet their madrasah’s deadline or they have to go back to school, so they neglect their back lessons during this time. Once one completes, they’re automatically given the title of haafidh/ah, but in reality, just because one finished memorising doesn’t mean that they really know their Qur’an.
Some schools have the consolidation phase, which leads up to the tamat – the occasion where students are tested and officially graduate as huffadh/haafidhaat. It seems like a great idea, but on the flip side, it gives one the false impression that now you know your Qur’an, you’re solid, you’re a haafidh/ah, which causes most to slacken in revising afterwards.
These are just some of my perceptions versus reality in my view. Feel free to share your thoughts with me.
With best of du’as for a productive 2017,