The Beauty of IslamThis blog is a collection of words & images that depict the true beauty of Islam
I was in third grade when I was chosen by the school principal to recite the morning thikr and dua in front of the entire school; I went to a private Islamic school since I was in third grade (and from preschool to second, I was in public school). Before we all were dismissed to head to class, the Deen’s of the school would line us all up — depending on the weather, either outside in the school yard or inside the auditorium — in order to recite our morning dua together. When my principal chose me - out of all the hands that were begging to be chosen - I was ascetic. He handed me the microphone, and with my recitation, the entire school had to repeat after me. I started with Surah Fatihah, Falaq, Nas, Dua, and then Ayat Kursi. Every single day we did this; this is where my love for Quran began.
Even though I’m European and have never previously encountered the Arabic language before, I picked up the material rather quickly during primary school. I began memorizing the same pace as my Arab friends, and even began to formulate the Arabic accent for recitation.
One night, as I read my Quran in bed, my mother sat beside my bed and patted my hair. She never said anything; she just listened to me recite. When I finished, she hugged me, and said something I don’t think I can ever forget. She said: “You’re my Mutaffifin reciter.” I know, that may sound silly, but I still smile when I remember that. During the third grade, I was memorizing surah al-Mutaffifin (surah 83); it was hard, but I remember coming home and reciting it to my mom in the kitchen. So I mean sure, parental support has a lot to do with it, but my father has been nothing but neutral (and somewhat pessimistic if not neutral) about everything and anything I’ve ever done. So I guess you can say I had a somewhat of an imbalance of support, but I’ve had it.
As I got older, I entered Quran competitions in which I’d place down the level I wanted to compete in — usually the last 3 juz (Naba, Tabaraq, and Qad Sami’a) — and was tested on random surahs or ayahs from any of those juz. I loved being in these competitions; it helped me prove to myself a lot of things. It allowed me to understand that you don’t need to be Arab to read and memorize Quran. It helped me accept the fact that a non-Arab can have an Arabic accent when reading Quran. It allowed me to love the way I recite Quran and try to perfect it as best as possible. And most importantly, it allowed me to make an important decision; that is, I would always memorize Quran. Always.
As soon as I got to highschool, things were a bit different. I was still taught by the same Sheikh, but he approached me differently. I was no longer the girl who memorized Quran like the rest of the class; rather, I was placed with the other girls who were understood as the most serious and dedicated students ever. It was my Sheikh that sat me down and told me that I should seriously think about memorizing the entire Quran by the end of high school; it was him. And if it wasn’t for him, I don’t think I’d be where I am now.
He was my ultimate motivator. And I know that privilege is almost never provided, but if you live near a mosque or have friends that read Quran, attach yourselves to them. I didn’t have a specific method of memorizing except that I came and left everyday to and from school with new pages to learn from Quran. At first, he used to teach me how to read with tajweed. And before I knew it, he gave me two pages to memorize a day, and when I came to school having memorized them, he had me read the next two pages to him. That was my method. It was a challenge. If I had more than a few mistakes, he’d tell me to take the rest of the day to memorize them properly. This ultimately infuriated me because it left me with another day to work on the same pages when I could have been memorizing two new ones. But it worked. He pushed me. He challenged me. He believed in me.
So my routine was to study as much as I could every single day. Sometimes I could only memorize one page; sometimes a few. And some days, I memorized a few lines on the spot (after having repeated it a thousand times). But this worked for me. There’s so many ways you can come up with a routine. If you have the intention of wanting to memorize Quran, start with the small surahs. Don’t begin from Baqarah, you wont go far (unless you’re amazing, but even amazing people have trouble memorizing from huge surahs). Start with the small surahs, and work your way up. Have someone test you! And if you can’t, recite along with the reciters you can listen to off of youtube. Also, if you get into surahs that are more than a couple of pages long (have fun with Surah Ghafir yall), break them into parts. If you want to memorize a page for a day — or a couple of days — you start by memorizing a few lines for each salah. For example, when you pray Fajr, you memorize the first three of four lines of the surah. For Dhuhr, you memorize the next two or three. Asr, the next couple. And by Ish’a, you’ll have the entire page down. My Sheikh advised us to do this; it’s hard, but it works.
Conclusively, but most most most importantly, you need to love it. By Allah, you need to love Quran and you need to love Allah to be able to do this every single day. I’m 10 juz out of 30 away from memorizing the entire Quran (along with its translation and meaning), but I swear to you, when people praise me for that fact, I can only say that it’s just the beginning of the journey. It truly is. I love memorizing Quran because it’s what I do. It’s how I approach my Islam. It’s what allows me to say that I am still connected with Allah. It literally defines a huge part of me.
For me, it’s never been about finishing the entire Quran; it’s always been about the journey through the surahs. If I do finish memorizing the Quran, I’d cry, but I know it won’t be over. I love memorizing it. I love repeating my favorite verses whenever. And I love randomly finding myself doing things like washing the dishes or organizing my desk while reading Quran; it makes me feel alive.
So no, it’s not about memorizing in order to be done with Quran. It’s always been about memorizing Quran because it’s what I do and who I am. Memorizing Quran is where I find Allah. It’s where I find reassurance and sakina. It’s where I find myself at fault and in awe all on the same page. And if you don’t see these things when you come towards Quran, don’t feel obliged to memorize it.
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