In trying to introduce Hafidha Iffath Hasan, one does not know where to start. She is the inspiring soul behind LessonsOfTheDay.com – a website that embodies simplicity, consistency, and insight. A mother of two and a teacher, she has also memorised the entire Qur’an at the age of 37.There’s a touching and inspiring story behind this brief introduction. Let’s get the scoop from the beautiful lady herself!
1. Assalam alaikum Hafidha Iffath. Thank you very much for sharing your time with us. Please tell us more about yourself – personally and professionally.
I was born and raised in India but I have lived most of my life in America. I live with my husband who supports me and encourages me to do things I want to do. I have two sons — married with children, both of them are also my big support — the answer to my dua “And (O my Lord) give me a counselor/helper from my family”(20: 29). My Lord has blessed me with a very supportive family, without their support it would not be possible for me to do what I am able to do, alhamdulillah.
Through the grace of Almighty Allah and the help from my brother who was living in Saudi Arabia at that time we were fortunate enough to live there for a few years, where Allah blessed me with the memorization of His Beautiful Book and simultaneously along with my hifz I was able to learn the Qur’anic language which I had started teaching as soon as we moved back to America. Later on I was talked into getting my notes published — this was a real task for me I tried my best for the benefit of the Ummah, the book is titled “Qur’anic Language Made Easy” may Allah accept it, ameen.
I am teaching Hifz and Arabic Language at the Institute of Islamic Education (IIE) for girls, and over the weekends at the local Masjids I am able to teach the ladies, we call our class ‘Character building and soul searching class’. We learn from the Qur’an and try our best to implement the teachings of Qur’an and Sunnah inwardly and outwardly. At home I keep myself busy with trying to share the things that touch my heart with people all over the world through the website, alhamdulillah.
2. When it comes to memorising the Qur’an, we hear of people starting out at a tender age and then working for years to achieve this feat. What motivated you to start out on this journey in your thirties?
While in Saudi I used to make a constant dua that when and if I come back to America that my Lord allows me to serve His deen. Now when I reflect, I can’t think of any service that I was qualified to do, and then my Lord answered my dua through granting me out of His grace the two best possible blessings — memorization and Qur’anic language.
As Muslims we believe that whatever happens to us is from Allah and there is good in it even though it might not seem pleasing to us, I went through a similar situation. Allah the Al Mighty has His own ways of answering the duas, there are causes and effects through which we end up achieving things which we wouldn’t otherwise.
I was desperately hoping that Allah would answer my certain dua, the best means I could think of was to get up for tahajjud and plead to Him. Allah did answer my dua through the blessed time of tahajjud, which lead to my commitment for tahajjud every single night, which lead to getting started with memorizing some of it for my tahajjud, which lead to completing it in its entirety, alhamdulillah.
3. We are constantly told to think big. In your case, however, you just wanted to learn a few additional suwar to recite in your prayers and that eventually lead to memorising the entire book. Any comments on this?
I agree, and I am very fond of the quote — “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars.” In my case Almighty Allah had filled my heart with the desire for wanting to serve His deen, in a way I was thinking big, and Allah granted me the Hifz of His Book as a means to fulfil that desire. Yes, initially I didn’t have an intention of memorizing the whole Qur’an, but through His grace once it started I was not able to stop. The message in this for us is to remember Allah’s promise that when we take the first step that is when He will make ten steps easy for us, although, even for the first step we take we should know it is through Allah’s bounty and grace and we should show our extreme gratitude for it.
4. Let’s talk about cultivating an achiever mindset. How did you go about conditioning your mind to memorising the entire Qur’an while fulfilling your other obligations at the time? What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
The first and foremost requirement for achieving anything with ease is doing it whole heartedly for Allah’s pleasure, seeking His help and becoming focused and working as much as possible towards accomplishing the goal. We can always schedule ourselves even with our busy schedules.
Alhamdulillah I had no problem fulfilling my obligations as a wife and mother. I can’t think of any obstacles I faced which I had to overcome, everything became easy through Allah’s help.
5. What’s more important – talent or hard work?
In order to know our talents we have to work hard. I personally had no idea that I was capable of memorizing the entire Qur’an until I started working at it. My talent to learn and teach the language, my talent to author the book, my talent to talk to my audience and finally to maintain a website, and who knows how much more I can accomplish and I am being lazy about it. I have come to realize that Allah has gifted us with so much talent and capacity to accomplish so many things but our laziness and distractions of the world are the biggest obstacles.
6. Please tell us about Lessons of the Day. How did it come to be and how do you manage to keep at it for so many years, masha Allah?
I always enjoyed reading — which is a gift from Allah. My father once advised me to take notes of those things that touch my heart, so I did follow his advice, and within a few years I had filled quite a few journals and then Allah guided me to share my notes through emailing those who were on my list. As soon as I got started with this, masha Allah my younger son surprised me with the website he had created for my lessons, he said he really liked the lessons and he wanted to do this so that others could benefit too.
I am able to continue with this for all these years only because of the encouragement I receive from my readers, people send me feed backs and comments which suggest that these posts really help them in their daily lives. Alhamdulillah, my dream came true to be able to serve the ummah in a way through which people can benefit world wide and it gives me a sense of satisfaction. I am really grateful to Allah first and then to my son who taught me everything about the website, he is my technical support, and he made it possible for me to avail this media to convey the message of our deen.
7. An attractive quality that we noticed about the website is its simplicity. We also see that many of the posts maintain the same format since the site’s inception. This is in contrast to the notion that something has to be eye-catching, active and constantly changing its self to suit current standards in order to be popular. Is this simplicity intentional? What are your thoughts on keeping things simple yet consistent and what do these qualities have to do with success?
A special feature of our deen is “simplicity”. There is so much grace and beauty in simplicity, the readers are enjoying the simplicity of my website, they know what to expect — no surprises. The point of this website is to enhance our spirituality and convey the message in a consistent manner, our spiritual battery needs to be re-charged regularly because of so many distractions in our lives, getting plugged in with the lessons is very simple in order to get our battery re-charged.
Consistency and simplicity are the two qualities I am a firm believer in, since these are in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah there is a lot of barakah in adhering to them. When it comes to working on our spirituality we do not need any sophistication, all we need to have is Ikhlas (sincerity), I make a lot of dua and recite surat ul Ikhlas a lot asking my Lord to fill my heart with sincerity.
8. There are men and women out there who have accepted despair and hopelessness as a way of life. They feel that success in what they want to do is not for them. What would you say to them?
Success is not what we count as success, it is when we do things in accordance with the Shariah with a sincere intention — that is the true success. For a believer the word despair doesn’t exist, it is the name given to ‘Iblis’. Since he is the one who is in despair of any forgiveness he would love to see us go into despair, but our goal is to defeat him, we shouldn’t even go near that word, we always have hope in Almighty Allah Who has the power to do everything — to give us the best in this world and the next.
1. Omar (radi Allah anhu) used to give three thanks for every problem/difficulty he faced — first, he thanked Allah for the measure/size of the problem — which could have been worse; second, he thanked Allah for it being in this world and not in the next; and third, he thanked Allah for making patience easy for him — through the understanding of the first two.
2. We need to remember that good times and difficult times are only our guests (they are not here to stay), all we should be focused at is being good host towards them — being a good host for the former is not to take things for granted but to show a lot of gratitude by using them for Allah’s pleasure, and for the latter by waiting patiently for them to pass.
3. The saying goes “the more the shukr (gratitude), the easier the sabr (patience)” — in other words if there is lack of sabr (despair and hopelessness is a sign of that), all we need to do is increase our shukr. We should try to remember that we become patients (going into depression) because of lack of patience, which is because of lack of gratitude. This is how it works — a grateful person is a happy person, a happy person is a healthy person and vice versa.
4. When we try doing things our way and we do not succeed that is the time to make a fresh start by connecting with Almighty Allah, seeking His help before we get started with anything. A beautiful quote of Ibn Ataillah which always keeps me going is “O Allah through Your help nothing is difficult, and without Your help nothing is easy.”
5. The best time to appreciate/count the blessings is when we are going through problems in our lives, because Shaytan wants us to become ingrate and forget about all the blessings just because of a few problems/difficulties in our life. We need to always remember that for every problem there are many solutions, and our Almighty Allah has promised us “with every difficulty there is ease.”
6. Starting the day with salat ul hajjah and salat ul istikharah — asking Al Mighty Allah to make things easy through the former and seeking His help to make the right choices/decisions through the latter will fill our lives with barakah, insha Allah. Through the barakah of these when things don’t go our way, we will still be content and we will know for sure that Allah has better plans for us.
7. Being on wudu as much as possible and giving daily sadaqa (even if it is dollar a day or less) are two other means of defeating the Shaytan — wudu is the the weapon of the believer against Shaytan and his whisperings, and sadaqa is most beloved to Almighty Allah (for it benefits His creation). When the needs of others are taken care of through our sadaqa we will have certainty that Allah will take care of our needs. Allah loves the duas that are made with certainty. These measures are tried and tested whoever wants to come out of the despair and hopelessness should try them out to experience the outcome.
9. What are the first baby steps – in your recommendation – that someone can take to go from desperation to inspiration?
Three things are highly recommended in this regard — to make a lot of dhikr (most important of which are daily obligations), to keep away from sins (any disobedience), and to keep the company of the righteous. The dhikr will give us spiritual and physical strength, the staying away from sins will fill our hearts with peace and tranquility, and the company of the righteous will inspire us to do the things they do.
10. How can we inspire the next generation of achievers who will be successful in this life and in the Hereafter?
The company we keep is that which will make us or break us. One of the basic and most important thing we should ask Allah for ourselves and our loved ones is the company of the righteous. My personal experience long before I had anything to do with memorizing the Qur’an — I was fortunate enough to know someone personally who was a Hafiza, almost every single time I saw her I used to make a comment that I envy her for her hifz, and then Allah blessed me with the same, alhamdulillah.
Thank you very much Hafidha Iffath. May you continue to carry your work with the Qur’an and with the website for many more years to come. Ameen!