Hifdh Learning Aids


Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullah

Beloved sisters,

With Ramadan 1438 close approaching, I’ve collated a series of articles from previous Ramadan Readiness posts (most of which are in Q & A format), for easy access.

Sit down with a cup of tea or coffee, peruse, and draw inspiration or ideas for your personal Hifdh connection. 

Bismillah!

Rayhaanah

PART 1:

With just three months remaining until Ramadhan, my inbox is quickly filling up with questions from concerned hafidhaat on how best to prepare for the month of Qur’aan.

Welcome to a new feature on the Fee Qalbee hifdh blog entitled: ‘Ready for Ramadhan?’

This weekly post (to be updated every Tuesday until end-Sha’baan, inshaAllah) will focus on helping YOU develop consistent and effective review techniques ahead of Ramadhan.

Please bear in mind that every hafidha will face different challenges & concerns with regards to her personal hifdh journey and that this series should be regarded as a general overview.

Focus of the week: Niyyah, purpose of intention

Niyyah is our aim, the intention or purpose for which we wish to do (or say) something. Allah’s Beloved Muhammad (sallalaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Actions are (judged) by intentions, so each man will have what he intended.” [Sahih Bukhari and Muslim]

In the past, scholars would remind believers that the niyyah is the ‘soul of one’s actions.’ Niyyah in itself is classified as being a part of faith and the essential link between knowledge and action.

  1. Establish an intention: set out your reason, your purpose for Qur’aan review. Whilst many students of Qur’aan may be working towards an approximate deadline of (the month of) Sha’baan, take a step back and …REFLECT.
  2. Reflect on the reason behind your Qur’aan review. Is this review only for the month of Ramadhan? Are you reviewing only because your parents have nagged you? Or because your hifdh teacher expects this of you? Is it perhaps the nagging, unpleasant thought which doesn’t leave you?

Hard-hitting questions, I know, but in recent years I’ve observed an increasing number of hifdh students and graduates neglecting the Qur’aan for most of the year, selectively reviewing certain surahs / ajzaa’ only and then racing against time to complete a thorough review in time for Ramadhan. This cycle or habit tends to repeat itself every single year.

The tragedy is that whilst many in the hifdh teaching fraternity may be well aware of this, very few regularly address this alarming trend, choosing to touch briefly upon it in the weeks leading up to Ramadhan and Taraweeh.

If   you have found yourself in this predicament during past Ramadhans, please know that it need not be so.

Create meaningful and consistent changes.

Challenge yourself.

Connect to the Qur’aan.

Honour the gift of tahfeedhul Qur’aan.

Establish, renew your intention: to Review the Glorious Qur’aan for the Pleasure of ALLAH every single day, inshaAllah in preparation for Ramadhan and beyond.

Recommended Reading:

  1. Sincerity of intention and its spiritual benefits
  2.  Intention – Allah’s Mercy

Further Reading:

  1.  The principles of Intention

PART 2: 

This weekly post will focus on helping YOU develop consistent and effective review techniques ahead of Ramadhan, inshaAllah Ta’ala.

Following the introductory post which dealt with establishing one’s intentions, this week’s post seeks to assist you in formulating a (general) ground plan in preparation for a month of reading and reflecting upon the Qur’aan.

Focus of the week: Laying the foundation

‘Getting a head  S – T -A -R -T  with your Qur’aan’  introduces the Fee Qalbee reader to one of my methods utilised when teaching and mentoring women through the Hifdh journey:

The most important aspect of a successful and fruitful Ramadan is the Qur’aan. This is because Allah SWT says,

“The month of Ramadan in which the Qur’aan was revealed as a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and criterion between right and wrong.” (AlBaqarah:185)

It has been said that everything has a beloved and the beloved of the month of Ramadan is the Glorious Qur’aan. For the duration of this month, Muslims worldwide honour Ramadan’s beloved, eager to draw nearer to Allah SWT.

Many of us have different goals in our journey towards the Qur’aan: some of us are striving to recite the Qur’aan with correct pronunciation and fluency; others have embarked on memorisation, whilst several sisters have aspired to further their knowledge of Qur’aanic vocabulary and commentary, etc.

Once we have identified our personal goals, we need to then formulate a ground plan of consistency and progress. For our Qur’aan goals to be achieved, it’s essential to develop a plan that can be implemented during and post Ramadhan – one that is integrated into our daily spiritual routine.

Perhaps you could try incorporating the S – T – A – R – T system in your preparatory process.

Start off by setting the wheels in motion. Set your intention, remembering that your intention is the soul of your actions. Establishing your intention and renewing your purpose will provide motivation in your learning experience. Your aspirations are your possibilities!

Target, aim, goal! Set your goal(s) with the intention of achieving them. These would include both short term and long term goals, regarding your intended progress. Set your personal targets and embark on accomplishing them. Remember that “Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.” [Brian Tracy]

Assistance of a teacher, mentor, sister or spouse. Support is vital for your progress. With support comes assistance, either from a teacher explaining your Qur’aan lesson, a mentor coaching you through your Qur’aan journey, a friend encouraging you with regards to your goals, or a spouse who acknowledges your milestones.

Reviewing your tajweed lesson, hifdh homework or tafseer lesson ensures that you maintain a high standard of learning and retention. Hifdhul Qur’aan consists of the 3 R’s: Recite – Retain – Review. What generally sets apart the diligent student from the distinguished one, is constant review, review and… review! Work towards integrating review in your daily Qur’aan commitment, and begin noticing the significant improvement in your recitation and memorisation.

Time appreciation and effective time management will enhance your Qur’aan progress. One of the primary concerns of a Qur’aan student is the need to develop and maintain consistency. The solution lies in avoiding procrastination & valuing every available moment. Develop a weekly planner and organise your audio files or CD collection of Qur’aan, so as to introduce the spirit of this month gradually.

Strive towards a dedicated plan for your Ramadan experience and harvest the rewards beyond this Ramadan, insha Allah!

This article was first published in SISTERS magazine

 

 PART 3:

This week’s focus is drawn from my recent correspondence with a regular Fee Qalbee blog reader and the question she posed regarding her son’s Qur’aan recitation:

Q: Salam Alykom from Paraguay!  This blog is something of a hifdh resource tool for my family and I. May Allah reward you! We reverted to Islam 5 years ago and since then, have studied tajwid with our children (Yusuf 12, Somayah 7). Since completing our khatme of Qur’aan we have commenced with memorisation.  Now, Yusuf is busy memorising Juzz 29 but I’ve found that whilst his work is good, his recitation is really unclear, almost as though he’s mumbling through some words. With Ramadhan literally ‘round the corner, we would like for his recitation to have more clarity. Can you advise us please?

 Ruqaya Oum Yusuf

                                                                                                   Nemby, Paraguay

A: Wa ‘alaykumus salaam wa Rahmatullah dear Oum Yusuf,   Welcome to Fee Qalbee and shukran for your important question. MashaAllah! you have all made excellent progress with your Qur’aan goals and we pray that ALLAH keep you steadfast & sincere in His Path, ameen.

Indeed, the recitation of alQur’aan has one basic obligation: the Tarteel (distinct intonation and pronunciation of the words) must be applied at all times.  As such, your concern is valid and key to Yusuf’s progress: unclear recitation can negatively affect the quality and progress of a hifdh student.

Regarding the clarity of recitation, I would like to share some learning tools that you may choose to incorporate into daily review and lesson plans:

  1. The ideal starting point is sitting down and talking to Yusuf: Try discussing this concern directly and clearly express your concern over the recitation, as well as your intention to help resolve this. He needs to at all times, be reassured that his parents are with him, assisting and encouraging his hifdh efforts. Could it be that he finds specific words challenging to pronounce or even memorise? Or that review time is set for too late in the day by which time he may possibly be too tired or overwhelmed? Hosting a group of his hifdh friends would also prove to renew his interest and motivation.
  2. Introduce a daily routine of audio review: Begin with Yusuf’s favourite surah – allow him to independently listen to the surah twice, after which he should recite along without looking into the mus-haf. By this stage, he will probably recognise that there are certain words which he is reciting incorrectly, as a result of the unclear recitation. Set a time and goal for the day: focus on addressing and rectifying the hifdh / tajweed of some words. Encourage him and acknowledge his wonderful effort a working towards a clearer recitation. Here, it’s important for me to mention that the Qaari he listens to should be a distinguished expert, the likes of:  Sh. Hudayfi  or Sh.Husary
  3. I highly recommend that Yusuf recite his daily revision as loud as possible. Together with improving the clarity, it will help develop concentration – a key component often attributed to unclear recitation. Also, encourage him to recite his Nafl prayers out aloud.
  4. Take note of his breathing and whether or not he is pausing or stopping at the end of verses correctly.
  5. When Yusuf completes a surah, allow him to record and thereafter listen to his own recitation. As he becomes aware of the vast improvement, he will be motivated to continue working diligently at correcting his recitation. InshaAllah, you will also notice your teen developing a much healthier approach and attitude to his learning.
  6. Never underestimate the benefits of some healthy competition between Yusuf and his little sister. It will also develop a beautiful spiritual link between them. Let’s face it, which big brother wouldn’t be up for a challenge!
  7. MashaAllah! as parents, you have made the best choice: striving towards becoming a Family of alQur’aan. And the best example lies within you: Reciting even 10 minutes of Qur’aan or the sura Yaaseen out aloud each morning, applying tajweed & tarteel is a case in point and a realistic, inspiring example that Yusuf is bound to follow.

Recommended Reading: The Excellence of Learning the Qur’aan

PART 4:

Welcome to part 4 in our quarterly series ‘Ready for Ramadhan’, as we seek to prepare for the blessed month by addressing issues of key concern regarding tahfeedhul Qur’aan.

Weekly focus: hifdh & salah

An important review tool for both hifdh students and graduates is to incorporate ones hifdh into the five daily salah and Nafl salaah.

A key concern at this time of year arises from (mainly) hafidhaat who may completed Qur’aanic memorisation yet rarely recite in salaah: meaning, they may have certain and very specific surahs or verses which they have, for years on end, been routinely reciting in salaah but have not recited any other surahs aside from these.

How do they cross this bridge? Create this meaning, crucial and consistent change in their hifdh review routine? And, as many query, how important is this inclusion?

Suffice to say, it is an indispensable component in your connection to Faith & alQur’aan. The practise of incorporating hifdh in salaah assists in:

(a)    Improving hifdh review

(b)   Enhancing long-term retention

(c)    Strengthening ones concentration and attention span, leading to overall improvement in hifdh progress and the development of khushoo’ in salaah

(d)   The blessings of increased attachment to alQur’aan

(e)    Spiritual purification and growth that is attained from this routine

Stepping Stones…

I’m convinced of the benefits, but how do I start?

Draw up a list of all the surahs / juzz which you have memorised. With the guidance of your teacher, work at evaluating each surah / juzz on a scale of 1 up until 10, with 1 representing extremely weak memory retention and 10 signifying meticulous retention.

Once the evaluation is complete, set out your first realistic yet flexible schedule on how best you hope to incorporate both strong and weak hifdh into your salaah: My recommendation would be to strike a consistent balance that would lend to enhanced hifdh standards: by reciting your stronger hifdh in salaah you would be encouraged to now review the weaker sections so that they too, will attain the same standards.

Some of my hifdh has never been recited in salaah. Is it too late for me start?

Not at all – the best time is NOW!  I’ve mentored numerous hafidhaat who had only ever reviewed juzz ‘Ammaa in salah, and then went on to gradually reciting the entire Qur’aan in slaah with relative ease and fluency, mashaAllah!

In most instances where a student has not regularly incorporated all hifdh in salaah, I would recommend that they follow the principle of gradualism: If for example, surah Taghaabun is weak, begin by reviewing with your mus-haf on a verse-by-verse basis. Thereafter, practise without reciting the surah (thrice) out aloud without the use of your mus-haf. Now incorporate the first five verses into one rak’aat of Nafl salaah, together with reciting a stronger surah / section in the second rak’aat. In the event that you are unable to complete the five verses (due either to: forgetfulness / concentration span / recollection of similar yet incorrect verses), simply begin again or resume with another surah. After the completion of salaah, open your mus-haf and recite thrice out aloud and once from memory. Attempt to include those verses in the forthcoming salaah. Within a matter of days, you will find the process much easier to accomplish and inshaAllah, begin cherishing the moments in which you recite hifdh in salaah.

Note: As you familiarise yourself with this process, try increasing the amount of verses recited in each salaah. Regularly review your juzz assessment sheet / ratings with your teacher & amend accordingly. The amount reviewed in salaah would differ from one individual to the other, based on the personal progress made or challenges faced.

 

I’ve repeatedly started the process, but always stop after a few days. I honestly find it overwhelming when I realise how many sections of my hifdh are not ‘strong enough’ in my memory. Please help!

One of the important lessons we learn from the hifdh-salaah routine is that there is always room for improvement, even for the best memorisers. It literally sets the platform for healthy competition and ambition within our own selves: How well have I memorised surah alKahf? Have I remembered the similarities within surah alBaqarah? Am I able to recollect – with relative ease – the sequential order of verses in surah arRahmaan?

This process is an acute indicator by which we can measure and assess the progress of our hifdh. It is a vital link for a haafidha (one who has completed Qur’aanic memorisation) to bridge her association between similar yet different words / phrases(alMutashaabihaat) and by which she remembers hifdh & honours the spiritual gift of Qur’aanic preservation within her heart.

Do not give up: persevere! With the advice and guidance of your teacher, the support and encouragement of friends or family, you will in due time, find this process incredibly rewarding sans any anxiety or feeling of overwhelm: Allow the outcome of your hifdh-salaah review to lend support to future hifdh revision, for as teacher of the past would counsel: “Reciting hifdh in salaah is by all means the surest way to gauge how well you know your hifdh.”

May your salaah be the coolness of your eyes, as it was for Rasoolullah (sallalaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).

PART 5:

The striving believer realises that her health (both physical and mental) are blessings from Allah Most High; but they are also trusts (amaanat) for which we are responsible and accountable.

Food intake directly affects our ability to memorise, retain and recollecttahfeedhul Qur’aan – all of which are critical steps in the process of memorising alQur’aan.   

Welcome to part 5 in our quarterly series ‘Ready for Ramadhan’, as we seek to improve our mental and physical health.

Weekly focus: hifdh & brain foods

This is a topic of importance primarily for mothers and teachers, but students too (especially young adults) need to understand the importance of brain food during tahfeedh: it provides nutrients and minerals that keep your brain operating in a healthy way.

In fact, one of this blog’s popular posts (for close onto 18 months!) has been: Memory Enhancers: top 10 foods ! which details a listing of foods that are great for your brainpower.

It’s time to bring in more perspective and options to the drawing board, so even if you’re a picky eater, there’s bound to be a favourite food in one of these recommendations, in shaa Allah:

10 foods that boost memory

6 foods to help improve your memory brain power

10 foods to boost your brainpower

In general, it’s been said that staying hydrated and including almonds and apples regularly into ones diet is vital for improving mental concentration.

Some cultures have dietary specifications for hifdh students. A common examples is the following combination prescribed by Hakeems: To chew three almonds, three sugar lumps, three raisins and three black peppers, before having breakfast.

In addition to this, most Indian spice / grocery stores stock an item called ‘chaar magaj’ – a mixture of blended nuts, seeds, etc. which can then be milled and half a teaspoon added to a glass of warm milk at breakfast time. It’s an acquired taste for many, but I know of hifdh graduates that couldn’t go a day without their ‘brain drink’!

The key is to go for wholesome, fresh produce and refrain from processed foods and those containing colourants, additives and preservatives.

In the same manner that we seek to purify and maintain clean hearts in which to preserve alQur’aan, let us honour the mental and physical strength and abilities that Allah most High has blessed us with.

So, for the moms and teachers: here’s a golden opportunity to make those much needed dietary improvements for the aspiring huffaadh in your midst!

Share some love and drop a comment or an email today!

PART 6:

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيم

Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuhu,

Welcome to the 6th segment  in our quarterly series ‘Ready for Ramadhan’, as we seek to gain hifdh momentum in the weeks leading up to Ramdhan.

Weekly focus: reviewing hifdh during haidh

Q: I am blessed to be surrounded by a handful of huffaadh in my home: my husband, father-in-law and sons. Honestly, I can’t thank Allah enough!

There is always someone reciting, learning or listening Qur’an at any given time.          However, as a beginner hifdh student still taking her ‘baby steps’, I need your advise on a specific topic as, understandably, none of them can relate to this concern: I am an adherent to the Hanafi madh-hab and would like to know how best to review my hifdh during haidh (when I do not recite), especially during Ramadhan?  Love and salams, Maryam [Canada]

A: Masha Allah, indeed a very blessed household! May Allah ‘Azza wa Jall honour you with increased love and devotion to alQur’aan, and congratulations on having embarked on your hifdh journey, too!

It is vital that your haidh time is seen not as an impediment but rather a catalyst to your hifdh journey. The more time, effort and energy you invest into your hifdh during this time, the better your ‘returns’ for a successful and memorable hifdh future, insha Allah!

I invite you to try implementing some of these learning exercises during haidh. I am certain that post-haidh you will note a vast improvement in your ability to recollect the majority of your pre-haidh lessons, both during Ramadhan & in other months:

  • Maintain discipline and routine: sustain the hifdh momentum which you have worked so diligently to uphold. This means allocating time during each haidh day for review of a portion of ol(der) hifdh as well as newer lessons.
  • Once your timetable has been set, ensure that you listen to your hifdh. Choose a recite with high standards of tajweed (in this way, you can work on reviewing tajweed principles, too!) and listen carefully. Initially, you may find it challenging to listen without wanting to read along or memorise further but, in time to come, this crucial listening exercise will become easier. Listen carefully and you will note any common or established errors which you have been making in your recitation. Keep your notebook at hand and jot down these points: it will come in handy to review and refer to, especially during the first week post-haidh.
  • A significant number of students have found the Qur’aan website:www.tanzil.net to be highly effective in review during haidh: it allows for thorough audio and visual review.
  • Allocate time to catch up on further Qur’aan / hifdh –related reading literature: tafseer, Qur’aanic grammar, vocabulary, etc., all of which enhance the spiritual experience of tahfeedh and nurture the growth of knowledge.
  • You mentioned your household of huffaadh: masha Allah! Just volunteering to listen to their hifdh review (crucial as we draw closer to Ramadhan & Tarawih duties) will assist you in strengthening visual and audio memory of your hifdh. Even if they happen to recite from ajzaa’ which you are unfamiliar with, it provides a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with your best friend, alQur’aan!
  • Put aside 10 minutes each day to develop memory skills: in particular, focus on ways in which to improve retention and recollection skills.
  • It’s highly recommended to review and amend (if necessary) your hifdh goals once a month: why not utilise this time to do just that?
  • Increase in making du’a for the ease, progress, success and Divine acceptance of your hifdh; invoke Allah ‘Azza wa Jall by His Majestic Names and after praising Him, thank Him. For as you mentioned in your correspondence, we can’t thank Allah enough! Alhamdulillah!

It is only natural for us to feel sad or even lonely during this time: after all, the closest companion of the aspiring haafidha / haafidha is alQur’aan. The above-mentioned points should give us insight and encouragement into realising that there are options for effectively reviewing our hifdh even during this time of the month. Khayr, in shaa Allah.

PART 7:

Our dear sister,  Ommalmuqarraboon at Al Muqarraboon has graciously allowed Fee Qalbee to post her insightful & thought-provoking post entitled: “I used to be a haafidhah” on our blog, as part of our Ramadhan readiness focus.

Bismillah alhamdulillah

What a depressing statement. “I used to be a haafidhah.”

I used to have these surahs memorized. I used to be able to recite this in salah. I used to…but not anymore.

This isn’t something I’m mentioning just to scare people. It’s a reality. A friend of mine attended a Jumuah Khutbah a while back and shared with me some of what she learned. The facts are from what she heard and reported to me, and I edited the quotes to correct for grammar but not meaning.

She mentioned: “Eighty percent of women forget half of what they memorize after they get married.”

Subhanallah

She told me the story of a sister who memorized Qur’an from the ages of 10 to 21. That is the prime-time of her memory! She spent over ten years memorizing and reviewing, just think about that! Listen to what she says now…. “I can’t even remember two ayaat in [their correct] order.”

Subhanallah…

Reflect upon that. You will realize that the way you live your life after marriage is but a reflection of how you were living your life before marriage. If right now, as a single sister, you cannot find time for Qur’an and reviewing is not a priority of yours, then surely things will only get worse once you are responsible for a husband and kids. The people who cannot make time for memorization when they are single, it’s not expected that they will be able to make the time later, even if they want to. Subhanallah, even if they want to.

When married sisters assume that I have a lot of free time just because I am single, I sometimes find it slightly offensive (that’s too strong of a word in this context but) because it is as if there is no such thing as being “busy” outside of marriage. But I know that is not how they mean it. We look at the past through rose-colored glasses. They are looking at their single-life-past, through rose-colored glasses and remembering it as a time of being carefree and without worries and to a certain extent, they are correct. Helping out around the house with your sister and mother is not the same as having someone ‘depend’ on you for their food and clothing. If you had a hard day at school, your mother will understand and let you skip some of your chores. But what about the married sister who is pregnant? There is just not that much leeway in this situation. You can’t take a “break” from being married or pregnant, it doesn’t happen.

Now is all the time you have. Take advantage before you have to look at your past and remember all those hours that you could have devoted to building a relationship with the Qur’an, but rather you let them pass you by, one by one (one nap here, one argument there, one movie here, one novel there).

And review, review, review what you have memorized until you become flawless in it and you feel secure that it has entered your long-term memory. Don’t ever let yourself become someone who says “I used to…”

Some Tips:

  1. Actively work to memorize the entire Qur’an before marriage. If you cannot complete it, do as much as you can. The sister said “especially the harder surahs,” but refer to HD 6:Stop with the Negative Influence! for why I do not endorse her statement.
  2. Don’t memorize without review. A lot of what we memorize is still sitting in our short-term memory, ready to run away. We need to tie it down with revision.
  3. If you are already married, don’t despair. Even you have more free time than you think. Start finding those pockets of free time, and use them! 🙂 There are stories of amazing sisters who have memorized after marriage, after kids, in hard times. We really have no excuse inshaAllah.
  4. Have good manners and leave sins. Being a good wife, mother, sister, and daughter all counts as ibaadah. Do not scream at your husband about how he’s “keeping you away from your goals in life.” Treat people well, keep up with all of your duties, and leave sins. All of these things will help you towards your memorization.

And Allah Knows Best

 

One of the comments posted on her blog – by Umm Sulaym – is regarded as vital in understanding this post:

Asalamoalaykum Dearest Sister,

Mashaa’Allah each post I read of yours seems wiser and wiser. May Allah SWT grant you and me wisdom.Ameen.

I used to get offended too when married sisters used to say that you have a lot of time on your hands because you’re single etc. which I felt was a false statement. The fact of the matter is you’re never going to have time. You have to make time. And like you said to a certain extent it’s true regarding the married sisters but I can swear by Allah SWT it is a major excuse Muslim women use. They justify their lack of time management by blaming it on their marital duties. I can say that the frequency and the quality of your Hifdz will definitely change after marriage but sisters who are doing it sincerely for His Pleasure and who did not initially began just to ‘pass time’ in their single life, actually excel. It all boils down to one’s sincerity. As soon as your Hifdz is getting weak, know that your sincerity is messed up. However, if your sincerity is intact, you’ll be surprised how Allah SWT aids you. The probability of success and all the outcomes of one’s aims lies within one’s heart.

May Allah SWT make us among those who memorize and recite Quraan day and night and give its proper Haqq.Ameen.

I’m enjoying your HD posts. Makes me feel that I’m not alone, walhamdolilah because in all honesty, loneliness in a path to khayr can sometimes become a huge impediment to one’s success. BarakAllahu feeki…may Allah SWT find you a companion of Quraan.Ameen.

Lots of love and many duaas,
-UmmS.

PART 8:

Qur’aan Readiness for Ramadhan

For me, Qur’aan Readiness for Ramadhan is about having more time than the rest of the year. Over the past couple of years I have done the following and it has really been worth the sacrifice. I cancel all extra activities that I normally do, for example: no weekly mother and child workshop, no book club with my little ones, and no sporting activities for the elder ones.  I also ensure that I don’t do any shopping in Ramadhan, everything must be done before. I then have extra time which must be planned very carefully so as to maximise my time for the Qur’aan, and I try to include days which will be missed for haidh.

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May Almighty Allah grant us all the ability to perform tahajjud salaah regularly Aameen! Another way to recite a juz a day would be to recite four pages each daily in our five obligatory salaah and four pages in two nafil salaah (ie Ishraaq, chaast or awwabeen). One could even read two pages in each of these salaah and read and review half a juz daily.

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Endeavour to recite two pages in each rakah of your tahajjud and try to pray ten rakahs. In that way you would read a juz in a night and finish the Qur’aan in a month. This will prepare us for the Holy Month. May Allaah may it easy for us and let us witness Ramadhan.

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Use the remaining weeks before Ramadhan to review the central points of focus in each Sura, so as we stand in taraweeh, we may ponder over the focus of each, rather than our minds drifting off to worldy matters.

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Start observing how you use your time. Do you waste or procrastinate unnecessarily? Every minute counts! So if you find just 10 minutes more of free time each day, I would suggest reciting Qur’aan out aloud for those ten minutes. It will help to improve concentration and correct tajweed mistakes.

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From Rajab, my family and I (we are 7) spend 15 minutes after supper together: We recite one hadeeth on the virtues of reciting Qur’aan and one family member will recite a sunnah surah, for example: surah waqiah, mulk, etc. whilst the rest of us listen to the recitation.

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I have four daughters all of them are in primary school and do hifdh part-time. We set up a hifdh star chart and from Rajab until the start of Ramadhan, the star chart is used to encourage thorough revision of all their hifdh surahs and ajzaa’. The one who has performed the best with revision gets to choose a Qur’aan quiz or books for our home library.

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Last week I set up an appointment to meet up with my son’s Qur’aan teachers and check on their progress. I also explained to their teacher that since both my husband and I have completed hifdh, we see Ramadhan as a wonderful opportunity to devote our time as a family to Qur’aan. So we discussed how he can improve and set Qur’aan goal for Ramadhan. I think that the goals will help us all stay focused at the end of Ramadhan we will have seen an improvement and a greater love for Qur’aan.

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To be honest, I’m guilty of only reciting specific surahs in my daily salah. So this year I chose to be brutally honest with myself. Its 18 years since I’ve completed hifdh so I’ve committed to improving my memorisation especially of those outstanding surahs. I read the surah repeatedly 5 times in a row and then use parts of that surah in my salah throughout the day, completing it by Esha time. I’ve already noticed an improvement and have been able to pick out my errors, alhamdulilla.

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I’ve 3 ajzaa and last month I started writing out the verses from memory. Gosh! I didn’t realise the multiple tajweed mistakes and hifdh errors that had crept into my work. I put aside about 30 minutes every day of the week and so far, so good. I really encourage you all to work on writing out your hifdh. You will definitely notice the difference!

 

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eAssalaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullah,

AlHumdulillah, I receive numerous requests on a daily basis from keen students in search of reputable hifdh teachers from all over the world!
As such, I’m looking into creating a database for female hifdh (hifz / hafazan/ tahfeedh) teachers, who teach both online and / or onsite.
If you teach Hifdh, I’d be ever so grateful if you filled in the form below and returned via email. JazakiAllahu Khayr!

Click here to access the document >>>>    Hifdh Teacher Database
All contacts will be collated and posted – with regular updates – as a separate page on this blog, making it easily accessible to sisters worldwide, inshaAllah.

Together, let’s network to have more sisters memorizing, loving, and living Al Qur’aan!

Spread the word, and share this post, or a link to this post, please  Subscribe to the blog or check back for our first draft of the teacher database later in April, inshaAllah!

Stay Inspired!

Rayhaanah

Bismillah

Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuhu,

Al Humazah, the 104th surah in the Qur’an, is one that most Hifdh students learn at a relatively early stage in their memorization. Whilst the surah consists of only 9 verses, its lessons, wisdoms and reminders are remarkably powerful:

Have you ever considered how the last surah that teaches us about the hell fire in the Qur’an is surah alHumazah?

Have you ever considered how this surah has one of most, if not the most, severest descriptions of the hellfire? Allah calls the hell fire in this surah: “the Fire of Allah” and not ” the fire of jahannam” as we see in other surahs.

Have you ever considered how this mighty punishment is discussed in light of a person who possesses bad character and has a heart filled with the love for the financial standing and material well-being of this world?

The lesson:

We should never let our position in society or the amount of wealth we own dictate our character and values. Never look down on people and never feel you above anything established by evidence. Never disrespect people on their presence and their absence, even in a joking manner…
And keep your wealth in your hands, and only Allah Almighty in your heart!

Indeed Allah Almighty promises destruction to those who do not take care of the above…

Please pick up a reputable translation of the Qur’an and read Surah alHumazah, engage with your local scholars, and benchmark yourself against the lessons of this surah with the sincere Intention of becoming a better person…

May Allah save us all from ourselves and make us a people that please Him always. Aameen.

Stay Inspired!

Rayhaanah

بِسْمِ اللَّ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullah

 

It’s not often that you come across a precise plan of action on how to achieve your ultimate hifdh goals with a realistic, step-by-step process.

So you can well imagine how excited I was to discover Believuh Group’s Hifdh Race initiative: a practical 4-tiered strategy coupled with motivation, goal orientation, and accountability. 

To find out more on how you can be a part of this project, click here

 

All the best! Look forward to receiving your feedback & as always, your successes:) 

 

Do you have any hifdh-related questions? Mail them to : rayhaanah@gmail.com 
 
Stay Inspired!
 
Rayhaanah

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullah

On a regular basis I receive resource-based articles on hifdh and the process of memorisation from readers & students, eager and generous in sharing what inspired, taught or reminded them.  And it’s pieces such as this week’s that never cease to amaze how incredibly complex yet beautiful, the human mind is!

When a Fee Qalbee reader forwarded this piece to me on Friday, it inspired me to open my gratitude journal for the second time that day, reminding me of how the actual process of Qur’aanic memorisation was and continues to be a miraculous gift from The Almighty SWT in my life! JazakiAllahu Khayran for sharing, sister Shareefa!

It’s also a wonderful piece to share with loved ones who, whilst supportive of your Hifdh journey, may not fully understand what it requires of you and how the process transpires. A perfect reading piece too, for those new the world of ‘hifdhing’ – welcome!

Happy reading!

Rayhaanah

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Tips to Help You Memorize the Quran
How Your Brain Works
Neurons are the building blocks of the brain, and all thinking (including memory and consciousness) is based on these little cells. Neurons connect to each other across synapses to form neural networks through which information is passed from neuron to neuron.

Synapses appear to adapt to how much they’re used: the strength of the signal they give can be strengthened simply by sending it out as often as possible. The more a particular synapse is used, the stronger the signal it sends.

What Are Memories and How are They Formed?
Memories are created, stored, and reinforced by the stimulation of neurons by impulses. The first stimulation— reading an aya for example— leaves a memory trace or pattern in affected neurons. Repeating and recalling a memory further reinforces the memory trace, making it stronger and easier to access.

The more you recall this memory trace, the stronger it gets and the more permanently it will be stored. Our brain stores sensory information for just a fraction of a second, then some data moves into short-term memory while other data goes into working memory.

Finally, some of that information goes into long-term storage in various parts of the cortex, much of it returning to the sensory cortex areas where we originally received it. A major factor determining which bits of information make it this far is their association with previously existing bits of information.

How Does All This Help Me Memorize the Quran?

There are four steps in applying all this to memorization of Quranic content:

1. Set goals.
Organize the content in a way that facilitates memorization. How? Starting from the last juz (one of thirty parts into which the Quran is sometimes divided), which contains the shorter surahs, will enhance one’s sense of achievement, since the length of these surahs renders them more easily committed to memory.

Your initial target content should be juz 28, 29, and perhaps Juz 30. You can divide the remaining portion of the Quran into three sections, with each section containing a larger portion.

For example, you could divide the remaining portion as follows: approximately 20%, 35% and 45%, with each portion larger than the previous, thereby presenting an increasing challenge.

This is just one example; you can easily make goals for yourself that you’re comfortable with, even if they divide the content into more sections. In any event, the first step in memorization is to read and reread the target content until you’re comfortable that you’re able to quote the content accurately.

This will entail a number of attempts, taking manageable parts of each section at a time. The individual should recite each portion and eventually the total Juz to someone who is capable of monitoring the accuracy or one’s recitation.

The purpose of this is to encode the information into the short term memory and then into the working memory. Once this is accomplished for the selected part, the individual is prepared to go on to the next phases. Once the final phase is complete, the individual returns to the next part of the section and completes the process again.

2. Activate short-term and working memory.
In this phase, the object is to practice recalling, not merely repeating. The objective is to permit one’s brain to engage in consistent recalling of the information so that the neural pathways will be strengthened and reinforced to facilitate remembering the information.

The more effectively one implants the information into the short term memory, to be conveyed to the working memory, the more effective will be the recall process.

A fundamental strategy in memorization is association. Alhamdulillah, Allah (swt) has incorporated association into the process of memorizing the Quran, as well as the repetition of ideas because of the thematic unity of the Quran.

The Quran contains in excess of six thousand ayaat, of which approximately two thousand bear a resemblance to one another, varying from total correlation to minor differences (one letter, one word, two words, etc.)

3. Build long-term memory with memorization.
The individual should recite each learned portion of the Quran until she or he is confident that the recitation is correct. Once one portion is learned, recitation should include the next portion until one can accurately recite one whole juz. This is the point at which the individual should integrate the recitation of the target content into one’s life processes.

For example, one should incorporate the target content into one’s salah. The target content should also be recited whenever and wherever it is feasible.

4. Actualize.
Once you’ve committed one juz to memory, this juz is then added to the one or more previous juz that you have memorized, and the process of the previous phase is repeated until the entire Quran is committed to memory.

Last But Not Least

Even though I’m saying this at the end, there’s one essential step that should come before all the others. You must not enter into the memorization process to boost your reputation, to show off, or solely for the present life.

You must enter into the process of Quranic memorization with a pure intention to learn and memorize recitation solely for the sake of Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) says: Say, [O Muhammad], `Indeed, I have been commanded to worship Allah , [being] sincere to Him in religion.’ [Quran, 39:11]

Get Ready To Recite With Understanding
The most critical ingredients in your formula for success will be your intention as well as your firm resolution to achieve your goals. Regarding intention, it’s absolutely essential to enter into the process of Quranic memorization with a pure intention to do it solely for the sake of Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) says: Say (O Muhammad): `Verily I am commanded to worship Allah (Alone) by obeying Him and doing religious deeds sincerely for His sake only.’ [Quran, 39:11]

Regarding the second ingredient, resolution, Aisha narrated that the Messenger of Allah (swt) said: . . . And the most beloved deeds to Allah are those that are continuous, even if they are few . . . [Bukhari]

Memorization of the Quran is a challenge. Nevertheless, Allah has provided assurance: And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember? [Quran, 54:40]

Let’s Get Started
The points below are intended to assist you; they aren’t iron-clad rules, but rather tips to to help you achieve success in your efforts.

1. Establish memorization goals and objectives. The goals are what you plan to achieve in general, and your objectives represent the specific goals in terms of what you hope to achieve on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. It is essential that you stipulate a daily memorization limit; otherwise you can overburden yourself, which runs the risk of weakening your efforts.

2. Get familiar with the section you want to work on for a given session. Read the section for understanding, because– as stated above– understanding is the cornerstone of memorization, in that the target section is then associated with cognitive awareness.

3. Make sure your pronunciation is correct. Your first attempt at pronouncing your recitation should take place in the presence of an individual thoroughly familiar with Quranic recitation so that you can be assured that your pronunciation and recitation are correct. Only move on to a new section when you’re comfortable with your performance on the first one.

4. While looking at the Quran, read the section ten times. Then attempt to read the section without looking at the Quran. If you make an error in the section, start again. Once you can recite without looking, the section has been committed to memory. This doesn’t mean that it’s instilled in memory; you must periodically return to what has been memorized to assure that the section has been captured by the memory.

5. Once you’ve memorized these lines you should keep them close at hand. You should recite them in your salah. Also recite them to yourself, wherever you are, whenever you can. You should constantly refresh its position in your memory during “down time” such as waiting for the bus, standing in line at the store, etc. Improve your tajweed as you recite these lines in your daily life.

6. Focus! Don’t begin another ayat until you’ve completed the ayat you’re now memorizing. This again is related to understanding. Allah (swt) arranged the Quran in a manner that– although it exceeds our comprehension– has a thematic value, and we need to take advantage of this unity for both understanding and memorization. Associate what you’re attempting to learn with what you already know. The greater our mental connection to information, the greater will be our success in remembering it.

7. Be consistent! Don’t skip a day unless it’s absolutely unavoidable. Keep track of the achievement of your goals and objectives, and assess your progress on a monthly basis. This has the two-fold purpose of assuring a good pace and providing motivation for you to continue striving. Nevertheless, do not attempt to surpass your established limits.

8. Use the same copy (mushaf, or written form) of the Quran throughout your memorization campaign. To do otherwise can be substantially confusing, deterring the understanding that’s the basis of effective and efficient memorization.

9. Be attentive to the parts of the Quran that resemble other parts. This enables you to take advantage of association, a major facilitator of the memorization process. Identify the patterns of the verses; the Quran is mutashaabihaat, which means that it has a definitive pattern. Alhamdulillah, through the thematic unity of the Quran, Allah (swt) has incorporated association as well as repetition into the process of memorizing the Quran. Approximately two thousand of the more than six thousand ayaat bear a resemblance or total correlation to one another. The difference can be as little as a letter or two.

May Allah (swt) bless you with success in your efforts.

Keep in mind that the rewards are great:

Ibn Mas’ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, `Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will be credited with a good deed, and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.’ [At- Tirmidhi].

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullah

AlHumdulillah! these past few weeks just seem to have flown by! What with the commencement of Dhul Hijjah, the days of ‘Eid, and we now find ourselves days closer to a new Islamic year, inshaAllah.

Today, whilst browsing through some deferred reading (forwarded correspondence), I came across this article that for me, reflected the power & beauty of alQur’aan: of the opportunities that it continuously presents you & I with, the chance to embrace the Light of Qur’aanic wisdom and truth, the chance to live its Message.

Really, we are all so blessed to be gifted with learning / teaching alQur’aan! Such a priceless, heavenly gift!

Stay Inspired!

Rayhaanah

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Taken from www.albalagh.net

 

The Miracle of the Qur’aan

 By Khalid Baig

‘... For only then we truly live. Otherwise we only pretend to live….’

It happened at an international inter-faith conference. The organizers decided to end the conference with readings from the scriptures of major religions, done by followers of other religions. As it happened, an Arab Christian read a passage from the Qur’aan. He was a good reciter. Every one seemed to be moved by his heart-rending reading, including the reciter himself. Immediately afterward, prominent Muslim thinker and writer, Maulana Waheeduddin Khan, who narrated this story, asked him: “Do you think Qur’aan is the Word of God?” In a moment of truth he said: “Yes.” But, then, he had second thoughts so he added: “But only for the Arabs.”

Actually not only the Qur’aanic message keeps attracting people all over the world, its words also move people who may not know a word of Arabic language. Famous Egyptian reciter Qari Abdul Basit reportedly once accompanied then President Gamal Abdul Nasir to a meeting with the Soviet leaders. During a break in the meeting, Nasir asked him to recite the Qur’aan before the top Soviet leaders. When he finished the recitation, Qari Abdul Basit saw four of them shedding tears. “We don’t know what it was,” they later explained. But there was some thing touching in those Words!

Ironically at that time Qur’aan was the forbidden tree for the Muslims in the Soviet Union. Reading, teaching, or even possessing a copy of the Qur’aan resulted in the most severe punishments. The KGB was always on the lookout. Its agents could enter any house, any time, if they suspected anyone inside of reading Qur’aan or offering prayers. Religious leaders were drafted for compulsory labor. Mosques and Islamic schools were closed down and turned into cinema houses, factories and offices. One could not find a copy of the Qur’an anywhere. The ruthless state machinery did everything within its power to extinguish the flame of Qur’aan from the empire. Yet during those seventy dark years Muslims kept the flame burning. They developed elaborate camouflage mechanisms, at tremendous risks, to teach Qur’aan to their children. Little children had to stay away from their parents for months at a time as they retired to secret hujras (rooms) where they memorized Qur’aan and received religious instructions without ever having looked at a printed page. Their stories remain a neglected but extremely bright part of our recent history.

What kind of Book can command such devotion and sacrifices? Only the Book that begins by asserting:

“This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah.” (Al-Baqarah 2:2).

And then each and every line of it attests to that assertion. It declares:

“The Most Gracious! It is He Who has taught the Qur’aan.” (Al- Rahman 55:1-2).

It challenges:

“Say If the whole of mankind and Jinn were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’aan, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support.” (Bani Israel 17:88).

It claims:

“Verily it is We Who revealed the Remembrance and verily We are its guardians.” (Al-Hijr, 15:9).

Qur’aan is the first document in the Arabic language. There is no other language of the world that has withstood the passage of fourteen centuries. Over the centuries, rivers change courses, civilizations rise and fall, and languages become extinct and new ones develop. Consider the expression “faeder ure on heofonum” from Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 from a Bible of 900 C.E. We are told it means: “Our father in heaven.” It also means that any writing from that time cannot be read by an English speaker today. But any Arabic speaker can open the Qur’aan today and understand its message. As did all the people in the intervening centuries!

Prominent scholar Dr. Hamidullah tells of an effort in Germany by the Christian scholars to gather all the Greek manuscripts of Bible as the original Bible in Aramaic is extinct. They gathered all manuscripts in the world and after examining them reported: “Some two hundred thousand contradictory narrations have been found… of these one-eighth are of an important nature.” When the report was published, some people established an Institute for Qur’aanic Research in Munich with the goal of examining Qur’aan the same way. A gigantic research project was started that continued for three generations. By 1933, 43000 photocopies of Qur’aanic manuscripts had been collected. A report published shortly before World War II showed the results of the examination of these manuscripts. While some minor mistakes of calligraphy were found, not a single discrepancy in the text had been discovered!

Of course the love, devotion and care that Muslim showed toward the Qur’aan, and that became the immediate cause of its miraculous preservation, was inspired by the Prophet Muhammad, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. On one occasion he asked the companions in Suffa: Which of you would like to go out every morning to Buthan or Al- Aqiq (two markets near Medina) and bring two large she-camels without being guilty of sin or without severing the ties of kinship? Camels were the valuable commodity of the time, she-camels even more so. Its equivalent today may be a brand new automobile. As they showed their interest, Prophet Muhammad, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, explained: To teach or recite two verses of the Qur’aan is better than getting two she-camels. And three verses are better than three she-camels. (Muslim).

And so, for centuries this ummah displayed an unprecedented love and devotion for the Book of Allah Ta’ala. It began the education of its children by teaching them how to read Qur’aan. It began its day by reciting from the Qur’aan. Qur’aan was divided into seven parts, each called a manzil, so it could be read completely every week. It was divided into thirty parts, each called a juz, so it could be read completely every month. Qur’aan is the most read and memorized book in the world!

Today, though, we see a change. Thanks to the twin scourges of a colonial education system and the television, today we find millions of Muslim children for whom learning to read the Qur’aan is not part of their education. We find millions of Muslim homes where Qur’aan is read only on special occasions. When someone dies, for example. This despite the fact that in most parts of the world today, unlike the Soviet Union of yesterday, reading the Qur’aan is no longer a high risk proposition. How unfortunate is the person who should die of thirst while holding the refreshing glass of water in his hands! How unfortunate the person who should die of disease while holding the perfect medicine in his hands!

Of course we must read it, understand it, and put it into practice. But we must also remember that reading with full deference and proper etiquettes is a pre-requisite for understanding the Qur’aan, just as understanding its message is a pre-requisite for practicing it. Our goal must be to live by the Qur’aan. For only then we truly live. Otherwise we only pretend to live.

Website: www.islaaminfo.co.za for Audio Lectures, E-Books, Articles, Nazms and More.


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