The Hifdh Race! Bismillah…

Warning: Personal and embarassing confession ahead.

I’ve been trying to memorise the Qur’an with word-by-word translation for a long time now; a very long time.

Sure, I know many suwar by heart and their rough translation in English, but I’ve been learning in such an adhoc manner that I don’t feel confident enough to say that I know such and such a number of suwar thoroughly. I neither know where each surah belongs in the sequence nor do I understand their overall themes.

I tried to become organised and consistent many times. And failed as many times.

Finally I decided that enough is enough. I don’t know for how long I’ll have a functioning memory. I don’t know for how long I’ll be healthy enough to sit (or pace about) and memorise. I don’t know for how long Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’aala will keep my heart guided on the desire to memorise the Qur’an. As someone once taught me:

“When Allah invites you to learn the Qur’an, don’t reject his invitation.”

I have to do this and I have to do it now.

For this, I have started employing a few strategies.

Strategy 1: Set Small Goals

It is indeed a miracle that even those who don’t understand a word of Arabic are able to memorise all 600 pages of it. Allah says in the Qur’an:

وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْ‌نَا الْقُرْ‌آنَ لِلذِّكْرِ‌ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ

And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?
[Surah Al-Qamar; 54:17]

But by looking to memorise the entire Qur’an in one gulp, I was already sinking myself and making it seem impossible in my feeble mind. In addition, I overwhelmed myself by trying to learn the tafsir, nuances of the Arabic language, and everything else all at once.

Nice work, Mr. Iblees, but I’m not falling for that!

So I broke it down. I decided to focus on the oft-recited suwar first, such as the last few, or the ones that I hear regularly such as Surah Baqarah, Kahf, Yaseen, Mulk, and Waqiah.

Yes, the intention remains to memorise the entire Qur’an and to understand its intricacies as far as Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’aala would allow, but let me start with a small portion and its direct translation first, eh? And if I die doing it, I hope I will still be rewarded for the niyyah of memorising the entire Qur’an. Win-win!

Strategy 2: Visual Motivator

Alhamdulillah, I was also fortunate enough to be introduced to the Hifdh Shelf. This is a product that is designed and marketed with little children in mind. But when I added it to my store, I realised that it would work for adults too; at least for adults who are still five years old at heart. Like me. 😉

What’s more, it focuses on the last three ajza only; not the whole Qur’an! Perfect!

Okay, so a Hifdh Shelf is up in my bedroom. It’s the first thing I see when I wake up each morning. But what if I give up again and tuck this away? That leads to my next whip…

Strategy 3: Accountability

I couldn’t find a local hifdh group and so I created my own by blasting an announcement on my social media accounts. Alhamdulillah, I soon I had a few sisters and their children eager to join me.

Each participant is based in a different location and time zone, so our primary channel of interaction is e-mail. If you would like to join us, please let me know. (Registration is now closed.)

Together with the Hifdh Shelf, we will race each other to complete the three ajza along with word-by-word translation.

فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَ‌اتِ

… So race to [all that is] good…
[Surah Baqarah; 2:148]

Strategy 4: Knowledge

Hifdh-ul-Qur’an isn’t mere rote learning or repetition. It is a journey that takes the traveller to the depths of one’s heart. It is a journey of discoveries of what lies out there, as much as it is a discovery of what lies within. It is a spiritual, emotional, and physical training ground.

The virtues of hifdh are many; as are the techniques for learning and remembering. Some people are blessed with the aptitude to remember whatever they see or hear without any effort, while others don’t have it that easy. Either way, the journey is full of reward and fulfillment, in sha Allah.

I’ve found that seeking knowledge about hifdh, it’s virtues, and techniques itself is an aid on this path. This knowledge is something I continue to work on attaining and I hope to share what I find (in digestible chunks) with my sisters in the group.

No people gather together in a house of the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that tranquility descended upon them, mercy covers them, the angels surround them and Allah makes mention of them to those in His presence.” [Sahih Muslim]

Now that you have read this, I invite you to do three things:

  1. Join us if you are a sister who hasn’t yet memorised these three ajza with translation. Children under 12 are also welcome. If you are a brother, start your own group! 😛 (Registration now closed!) Set your intention to memorise the Qur’an and then get started immediately. Don’t let shaytan stop you with any excuse.
  2. Share this invitation with others.
  3. Make dua for those on this race. May Allah help us keep our intentions purely for His pleasure, and not for showing off. May He keep us inspired to pursue this knowledge as long as we are alive. Ameen.

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