Like any typical Muslim parent, I wanted my children to be able to recite the Qur’an with good tajweed. At that point in my life, I could recite the Qur’an with fair tajweed, but that was about it. Having only read the translation, I was oblivious to the linguistic beauty and miracle of the Qur’an. Like any average Muslim, I was in awe of the virtues of memorising it. Naturally, I also wanted my children to memorise the Qur’an. As we were listening to Safi Khan’s talk about Imam Ahmad, my six year old son declared, “I want to memorise the Qur’an by age 10 too!”
His enthusiasm, however, didn’t spill over to his two older sisters. We encouraged our oldest daughter to memorise Surah Yusuf along with me, and she did, but because our approach to it was quite casual, she soon forgot it. I did too. For her however, she vehemently vowed not to memorise Quran ever again.
“I only end up getting sins when I memorise it and then forget it,” she said.
We didn’t push the issue with her and for a long time, our attitude towards hifdh was, “It’s not that big of a deal.” Looking back, it’s truly a mercy that my son persisted in his hifdh. It provided a constant reminder of the Qur’an’s virtues and status in our life. Inadvertently, through taking various Islamic classes and attending halaqat, I decided that I do want to know what the Qur’an has to say, beyond the translation.
As it miraculously came my way, I registered for Al Huda Institute’s Ramadhan course. Soon after, I enrolled in the Taleem Qur’an course, which goes over the whole Qur’an in tafseer, word analysis and more. I found myself falling head over heels in love with the Qur’an. Word analysis fascinated me, and I began to look at Arabic grammar, which I had learned for five years in high school with complete apathy, in a new light. The linguistic beauty and true message of the Qur’an became clearer, and the Qur’an began to have a different meaning for me. It was no longer just a book that had to be recited with good tajweed or merely memorised. It became a book that changed my life, as it affected my actions. I realised that it had to be passed on and shared with others. As a mother, I felt the urgent need to pass it first to my children.
The importance of du’a
I started hinting to my oldest daughter, who was then a pre-teen, to take the next Taleem Qur’an course, keeping in mind that it requires very strong discipline and motivation to complete the course. Since I always had the class on speaker, the kids became used to hearing it every week. Without realising, they also indirectly listened to some of it. At the same time, the yearning for my daughter to also have this amazing experience of the Qur’an was burning a deep hole in my heart. I didn’t want to force her, yet I didn’t want her to miss out on this either. I begged Allah (SWT) to place the desire to learn and love for the Qur’an in her heart, so that she herself would express her interest in taking the course. In the meantime, I eyed the registration date for the next Taleem course, and my plea to Allah (SWT) went on for about two years.
It’s true that a parent’s du’a for her child is high priority to Allah (SWT), because things finally fell into place. She expressed her interest, and we signed her up. Today, with Allah’s tawfeeq, Alhamdulillah, she is a student of Qur’an and seems to be enjoying it and diligently attends it.
Not too long ago, I experienced some minor but persistent health issues. Thoughts of death sent my thoughts spiralling, “What do I want to bring with me and what do I want to leave behind?” Since Qur’an had become the love of my life, I came to the realisation that I do want to memorise it, or die trying to memorise it. My hifdh journey began.
All this time, righteous friends who found out that my son was memorising, always asked me, “How come the girls aren’t memorising?”
I would reply, “They don’t want to, and I don’t want to force them.” However, now that I was delightfully immersed in the experience of memorising Allah’s words, I began to intensely want it for my girls too. It began to bother me that they didn’t want to memorise. I still didn’t want to force them, so again, my yearning burned another deep hole in my heart as I made du’a to Allah to place the desire and motivation in their hearts to undertake hifdh.
Enthusiasm is infectious
One night, I was hanging out with the girls in their room as they were about to go to bed. The topic of hifdh came up, and I began to talk about my experience. I realised that when I was talking about its virtues, it truly came from my heart. Furthermore, they also heard and witnessed my effort in it. I think it had an effect on them.
Again, Allah (SWT) made it easy. Before long, both my girls expressed their interest in memorising. Yesterday, we just celebrated my second daughter’s completion of Juz 29. In the meantime, my oldest daughter has taken up the initiative of keeping up with her memorisation with her Taleem Qur’an classmate.
Since all of us are now involved in Qur’an one way or another, my six year old son has taken to joining his older siblings in their Qur’anic activities. One of his favourite playthings was my older son’s MP3 player that has the whole Qur’an recitation in it. As he learned to navigate between the English and Arabic menu, he would continually ask us, “What is Al Fatihah in English? What is The Cow in Arabic?“
Whenever my second daughter would recite her daily page to me, I would explain to her the meaning of what she recited based on what I learned of tafseer and word analysis. Because of this, I was able to explain it in a way that made it relevant to our context and made it come alive. This caught my younger son’s attention since he would always sit by and listen, while waiting for his turn to recite. Before long, he began to ask, “What’s the story of An Nisaa? Tell me the story of Al Masad.”
When he did hifdh with me, he would always insist I tell him the ‘story’ of the surah he is memorising. I didn’t even have to put extra effort to make him love the Qur’an and seek its ‘stories’. SubhanAllah, all these came about after I myself started to pursue the Qur’an.
Truly, parenting is more for the parents than for the child. When we as parents begin to deepen our relationship with Allah (SWT), the effect will usually spill over to our children. If we want our children to develop a relationship with the Qur’an, we, as parents, have to take the first step. With persistent du’a and effort, Allah (SWT) will take care of the rest.
Continuing our series on the Qur’an and our children, LaYinka Sanni shows how storytelling brings the Qur’an to life for her own young students.
Juli Herman is a homeschooling mother of three teens and one kindergartener. She is a student of Qur’an and can be found blogging at juliherman.wordpress.com.