One mother’s recipe on how she accomplished it with her daughter!
[Chapter 1] My SMART Result
What was the mother specifically aiming to achieve?
I was specifically aiming for her to memorize all the Qur’an in about 3 years (as I had heard that people normally finish in 3-5 years). However, she finished in 2.5 Alhamdullilah.
I had different targets during this time. In the beginning I had no target. Once we got the hang of it (after about 5 juz) we targeted one juz a month (which was a page/day).
By the end, though, my target was to do a juz a week.
1. Notice how even though it was her daughter that was memorizing, SHE adopted the goals as if it were her own.
2. Notice as well that she adjusted her specific results as time went by. She was flexible. When her daughter got stronger, she adjusted her results to match that strength.
[Chapter 2] My Purpose
Why was this goal of her daughter memorizing the Qur’an at such a young age an absolute must?
[I ALWAYS WANTED IT] I always wanted all my children to be huffadh, [ROLE MODEL] like Umm Sulaim’s sons, radiAllahu anhum. However, I never thought that I will end up teaching them myself. I was waiting for a madrasah to start in our city for girls, when my husband suggested that I should try doing it at home until something starts for girls. Although, it was a very informal suggestion but it actually turned practical only by the permission of Allah.
[BEST GIFT PARENT CAN GIVE] I think this is the best gift parents can offer to their children.
[SUCCESS OF HEREAFTER MOST IMPORTANT] To me, true love is not when you want to see your child successful in this dunya only, but to see their ultimate success, which is the success of the akhira. And if they get that then it automatically offers the success of this dunya too, bi idhniAllah.
Often times, as parents, we limit our vision for our kids within the bounds of this dunya alone. We want more and more for our children for this dunya.
From the day they are born, we start setting ‘high goals’ for them, from having good education, to best job, to big house and a latest model car etc. etc. and it never ends.
[OTHERS HAVE SMALL DREAMS FOR ISLAM, NOT ME] Why then we don’t have the same standards for the akhira?! Will we ever compromise with just elementary school education for our children? Why then just once-a-week-Sunday school suffice us? Will we ever let them stop with a high school diploma? Why then only 5 daily prayers, fasting in Ramadan, giving zakah and offering one hajj makes us happy?! Why say ‘ that as long as they enter jannah…’?! Why not, ‘ I want my children to enter Jannat-ul-Firdous and not just jannah, I want my child to be standing among the Sahaba, in the company of the Prophet sallAllahu alaihi wasallam on the Day of Judgement (inshaAllah) and not just with regular Muslims’. Why do we have limited goals for our children for their akhira and unlimited for the dunya!
[ULTIMATE GOAL: LEARNING THE DEEN OF ALLAH] And that is perhaps why memorizing Qur’an was a baby step towards making her learn the deen of Allah.
[FILL THEIR BRAINS WITH THE MOST PRECIOUS OF KNOWLEDGE, THE QURAN] If we are given an empty shelf to decorate, we will start by putting the more
expensive and valuable materials in the front and then if we have space left we will put the extra things, and to me this is exactly how the children are. They are given to us with empty minds and it is our, parents, responsibility to fill our children’s brain with something valuable first.
[ROLE MODELS, IMAM AHMAD’S MOTHER] Among the heroes of Islam, 3 men were always very inspiring to me: Imam Ahmad, Ibn Taymiyyah and Sh. Bin Baz (Rahimuhullah). And Imam Ahmad was a prime example of not only a hafidh in young age but even his mother’s role was such a big inspiration.
[I DID THIS BECAUSE WHEN I START SOMETHING I FINISH IT, IT’S MY IDENTITY] Why was I so bent on her finishing at a young age.because this is just how I am. When I start something believing in it, I just can’t stop in the middle. And I must admit that when I started with my daughter it was like throwing an arrow in the dark. I only got more encouraged we went along. I started with her when she was 5. She was in 1st grade homeschool. I figured that even if it takes her 3 years to memorize and she misses out on homeschooling, she will still not be behind in her secular studies.
[LESSONS ALONG THE PATH] And the more my daughter kept memorizing the more I realized that:
* Small children are easy to please. Small rewards mean a lot to them and they are satisfied with little. Whereas older children have ‘bigger’ demands.
* Younger children’s world revolves around their parents. Honestly, sometimes even just offering to give her 10 kisses will motivate her to finish her lesson! I don’t think this would have worked with an older child!
* Small children (especially those who have not been to school) don’t know what they miss out by staying home. Older children (especially teenagers) know the ‘fun’ of outside world and it is tougher for them to sacrifice.
* Small children are easy to discipline, intimidate and control.
* I believed that whatever a child memorizes in an early age is not easily forgettable. And besides, if she finishes in an early age, she will have a LOT of time to review and the more she reviews the stronger it will stay in her memory, inshaAllah.
[MEMORIZING QURAN WAS “NOT” THE ULTIMATE GOAL, THERE WAS SOMETHING BIGGER] Besides, I had a bigger goal in my mind (may Allah Azzawajal accepts it and make her successful). As I said, memorization of Qur’an was just the first step. I wanted her to do memorize Bukhari and Muslim as well. I thought it will take a lot of time and our lives are short, so the sooner the better.
Although, now she is memorizing Bulugh-ul-Maram and Riyadh-us-Saliheen (Sh. Yasir suggested these books instead of Bukhari & Muslim). She alternates between two books, one baab from each.
[IMPLEMENTATION OF HIGHER DREAM] She also had the opportunity to travel to Egypt last year and stayed there for the summer. She attended Cairo Institute. Now she is continuing with the same institute through the internet & webcam. She has the same teacher as she had in Egypt and it is walhamdullialh working out great. She can speak fushah Arabic now. They have a total of 12 levels of the course, she just finished her 7th level. Now inshaAllah she will be doing ‘balagha’ which her teacher said is the most difficult and goes into the Qur’anic style Arabic. I recommend this institute to all the parents!
[Chapter 3] My Massive Action Plan
What were the top 10 things she did to reach the end zone?
My Massive Action Plan
1. [MAKE DUA!] Make du’a: and by Allah, if it wasn’t for His Mercy, this would have never happened. The days I would forget to make du’a, that day would be terrible.
It is a weapon of every believer and a ‘special’ weapon of every mother! So as much as she uses it, it will only help her and her child.
2. [CHILD KNOWS REWARD AND HAS PURPOSE] Motivation (hers and mine): Constantly reminding her why she was doing it, reading her the meaning of her lesson, talking much about Jannah and jahannum. As my daughter says that had she not knew the reward, she would have never done it. (And yes, the parents need to realize that the children, even as small as 5, can have a good concept of Jannah and hellfire).
3. [CELEBRATIONS] Positive reinforcement: Set up a reward system. She had a daily reward, weekly reward and ‘juz’ reward. Daily reward was necessary because small children can’t focus for too long. So to make her wait for the whole week was not working out.
We strictly followed the Madani mushaf and went by lines. For every line she memorized, she would get 10c and this was to encourage her to take more new lesson. (When she started taking a lot, I started rewarding by page!! )
Weekly reward: if she won’t take any days off and finish her lesson throughout the week, she will get to go somewhere ‘fun’ on the weekend. Sometimes, that ‘fun’ place was simply going to a relative’s house (as I said, ‘smaller children are easier to please’).
And for every juz she memorized, she will get a party where all her friends will come over, play games, eat and she would get gifts.
4. [START AT FAJR] Waking up after Fajr. I didn’t realize the barakah in time until I actually started waking my daughter up early to do her lesson. If we hadn’t done this, she might have still been memorizing.
5. [DISCIPLINE] Fear factor: I still don’t know if this is the right thing to do or not. I could’ve been more patient. But I don’t know if there was only love and reward and no ‘intimidation’ then how successfully we would have achieved this task.
If she wouldn’t finish her lesson, she wouldn’t get to play outside or ride her bike etc. She was punished but I would always talk to her later about the importance of finishing what she was supposed to do each day. And I tried not link the punishment to the Qur’an rather to her discipline and misbehaving.
Also, being strict helps because otherwise when a mother is also a teacher, children like to beg and nag for smaller lesson or days off and act ‘spoiled’.
6. [CONSTANT REMINDER OF OBJECTIVE *Important] Encouragement: Everything that was done for her during these 2.5 years, was associated to her memorizing Qur’an. Even if I cooked something that she liked was because ‘she was memorizing Qur’an’. Reminding her throughout the day that she was special because she was doing something special and not everyone gets to do it. (But at the same time, kept reminding her that she was doing this to please Allah alone.)
7. [SPECIAL REWARDS] More rewards: these were the ‘special’ rewards from her father and she did take them very seriously. These were set after every 5 juz.
When she had last 15 juz left, we motivated her with a ‘big party’ not only with her friends but this time she would even get to invite their parents and she got VERY excited! SubhanAllah she was really looking forward to it and finished 15 juz in 3 months!
8. [UNBREAKABLE SCHEDULE] Discipline: A schedule was set up. We wouldn’t go anywhere during the day time (usually until 5pm), no phone calls, no social activities except for the halqah, doctor’s appointments etc.
9. [REAL LOVE: YOU’LL THANK ME ONE DAY] I don’t know what to call this. Regardless of all the encouragement, rewards AND intimidation, some days (or should I say many days) I would have to simply ‘force’ her to memorize and review. This is where the ‘fear factor’ comes in handy. I would just tell her that inshaAllah one day she will appreciate what she was doing. And perhaps this is where I had to be more disciplined and strong and didn’t give in.
10. [PEP TALKS] Good communication: This was not only good for my daughter but even for me. Whenever, I was not able to be patient with her, talking to her about it later on only relieved my guilt feelings. This may not seem so important but I believe that it makes a big difference.
11. [ACCEPT FEEDBACK] I never discouraged questions or complaints from her so I knew exactly what would be going through her mind, and I would talk to her about it. Like why she was unable to play like neighbor’s children outside, or why she couldn’t go to school, or why she was the only one memorizing etc.
12. [COMMUNICATE INTENTIONS AND PURPOSE] Especially the year before she finished, I had gotten very busy with my own studies and dawah events and ended up wasting a lot of her time. Then right after the conference finished, I felt so guilty and promised myself to make it up to her. So I dropped everything that I was involved in and completely concentrated on my daughter. I had a long conversation with her and I explained to her that we had wasted a lot of time and she was able to do much more then what she was doing, so why not increase our lesson but It will require some sacrifice from her and I explained to her that she may not be able to play as much as she used to, or go out as much or spend her weekends at Grandma’s etc.
I think when adults communicate with the children and explain to them why they are doing certain things, the children feel the ‘responsibility’ of doing what the adults are asking them to do.
And I do believe that the communication with her helped a lot because she knew exactly why she had to be on a very rigorous schedule of 8am to 8pm (in the last few months) And subhanAllah she did move from on page/day to 2/day to 3/day to 4/day and finally 9/day)
[THE 80/20 MOST IMPORTANT: DUA AND FAJR] The top two actions will be: making du’a and starting lesson after Fajr.
[GOT A BOY?]
There is just one thing that I must mention though. All my experience is with a girl. Now that my son is memorizing, I feel like boys are very different from girls-good and bad.
[FINAL ADVICE: PARENTS MUST BE RIGHTEOUS] And although you didn’t ask for this but there is just one thing I want to say:
During all this time of memorization (and of course even after this) parents must watch out their own actions too because this is not only an achievement for the child but it is a blessing and Rahma of Allah to be a parent of someone who has memorized the Qur’an and this blessing is not given to everyone. A wrong action on parent’s part may affect the child too. We must improve our actions and we must keep our intentions pure so our children can turn out even better, inshaAllah.
P.S. One more thing. I don’t have a TV at home but once in a while I do let my children watch something on computer DVD.
But whenever my daughter would watch something, the next she would have a hard time doing her lesson and I would regret why I let her watch the cartoon! So minimize the TV in their lives when they are memorizing Qur’an (and even afterwards!).