Mariam Amirebrahimi took over seven years to memorize the Qur’an. In the time span that she spent memorizing, she had other responsibilities simultaneously. She was either studying or working full time (or a combination of both), was the president or lead figure of an organization or community work, and had family responsibilities. The only time she was able to focus almost completely on the Qur’an was when she moved to Egypt for eleven months, in which she dedicated about two hours a day to memorization while she also studied Arabic and did Arabic homework for about seven hours of the day. However, the majority of the memorization occurred in America, amidst a crazy schedule. She encourages us to persevere with hifdh by saying if she memorized while she had to take care of life responsibilities; then we too, can memorize while taking care of our day to day duties and business. Below is PART ONE of the tips she shared to enhance our hifdh journey.
10 Tips for Serious Seekers of the Qur’an (Part One)
1. Realize the Reason, Know Allah is Your Guide
Why memorize the Qur’an? Because it will give you a constant, incredible, and personally special relationship with The Creator, with The Sustainer, with The One Who has power over all things. You want the best of both worlds? It’s through the Qur’an. It’s through memorizing, understanding, loving and most importantly, living it. When one is sincere about memorizing it, one needs to be completely aware of the heavy responsibility and glorified honor of living as Allah’s servant and carrying His words in their hearts. This must translate into their actions. The key: Sincerity. Make the Intention to Invest in Your Akhirah (Hereafter)
The Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) taught us, ‘The Qur’aan will meet its companion on the Day of Resurrection when his grave is opened for him, in the form of a pale man. It will say to him, ‘Do you recognize me?’ He will say: ‘I do not recognize you.’ It will say: ‘I am your companion the Qur’aan, who kept you thirsty on hot days and kept you awake at night. Every merchant benefits from his business and today you will benefit from your good deeds.’ He will be given dominion in his right hand and eternity in his left, and there will be placed on his head a crown of dignity, and his parents will be clothed with priceless garments the like of which have never been seen in this world. They will say: ‘Why have we been clothed with this?’ It will be said: ‘Because your son used to recite Qur’aan.’
Then it will be said to him: ‘Recite and ascend in the degrees of Paradise,’ and he will continue to ascend so long as he recites, either at a fast pace or a slow pace.’ [Ahmad, Ibn Majah]
Know that Allah is with You
Allah Most High says in a Hadith Qudsi (record containing the words of God), “When my servant takes one step towards Me, I take ten steps towards him. When my servant comes walking towards me, I come running towards him.” Recognize that you are not alone; that it is the One Who revealed these words Who will help you learn and retain them. The struggle must begin with the servant, but the Lord is the One Who will continually open the way and aid you through the struggle.
2. When it’s Hard, There is Twice the Reward!
Wait, what? You don’t understand Arabic? Wait, what? You aren’t Arab? Wait, you’re Arab, but your tajweed (rules of recitation/pronunciation) is really off?
For you, the Prophet ﷺ has shared words of encouragement, “Such a person who recites the Qur’an and masters it by heart, will be with the noble righteous scribes (in Heaven). And such a person exerts himself to learn the Qur’an by heart, and recites it with great difficulty, will have a double reward,” (Muslim).
3. Start Correctly and Use Technology
Find a Teacher or Qur’an Buddy, Learn tajweed and Work Consistently
When I first decided I would commit to memorizing, I found a teacher and told her I was ready. But I had never studied tajweed and my recitation was completely incorrect! She asked me, “Do you want to memorize, or do you want to memorize correctly? There is no point in memorizing it wrong and then having to go back and do it all over again.”
The most difficult test I came across with memorizing the Qur’an was not being able to find a consistent teacher. This sometimes led to many months of not memorizing anything and only working on hifdh review.
When I didn’t find a teacher, I turned to friends who could help me with my tajweed and we became Qur’an buddies. On campus, over the phone, in cars in random parking lots, in-between running from one meeting to another, we would recite to one another and we would keep each other in check until we were able to find teachers. A teacher (or if you can’t find one, a Qur’an buddy) is CRITICAL to progress with the Qur’an.
One of the best things that has ever happened to me in my entire life, all praise and thanks be to God, was being blessed with the Qur’an teacher that helped me so immensely through my memorization: Shaykh Moheb. I learned love for the Qur’an, commitment to the Qur’an, a life of gratitude and incredible contentment because of the Qur’an and a balanced perspective through the Qur’an from him. Seeing I was not Arab and was trying to memorize the Qur’an correctly, he took it upon himself to see me through it. May God bless his family in both worlds. I made du`a’ (supplication)(fervently) for a teacher like this for many years and was blessed with more than for what I made du`a’, but it took patience and continual struggle until I was rewarded with a teacher of such caliber.
Seek the best teacher you can find and if they are not there, keep making du`a’ for one and work through other avenues.
Use technology to assist you; to help practice your tajweed and help you memorize, there are a number of resources dedicated to those who want to memorize the Qur’an.
4. Date the Qu’ran
When I was MSA President in college, I had many responsibilities added to my academic, work, volunteer, knowledge, and family obligations. However, everyday, I made a special date with the Qur’an that no one could touch. My phone was away, my email was gone – I was booked for that time period and it didn’t matter how huge of an event I needed to prepare for the next day. Just as we make time for people, work and classes, we need to schedule in time to meet up with the Qur’an and strive to show it that we’re sincere and serious about a long-term relationship.
(Part 2 to be posted next week InshaAllah)