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بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullah

May this post reach you all in a deeply inspired state  in which you are motivated & guided to make the most of your hifdh journey.    This week, I thought to share some hifdh advise for Qur’aan memorisers, and so i turned to my inbox and found an email from a colleague who recommended that these advises be shared. “It’s comprehensive, and totally relevant to all hifdh students!”, she enthused. Upon reading through the (forwarded) email I realised why she was keen to share: it contains elements which aid in strengthening & also weakening of the memory, essentials for every Qur’aan bearer.

Stay Inspired!

Rayhaanah

Guidelines for memorising the Quraan as shared by Qari Ziyaad Patel on ‘The Quraan and You’ this weekend.

THINGS WHICH STRENGHTEN THE MEMORY:

• Staying away from sin

• Abundance of Durood especially before and after memorising your new lesson

• Protecting one’s eyes from evil glances

• Use of miswaak

• Eating almonds

• Good sleep

• Respecting the Mushaf and one’s ustaads/teachers

• Staying away completely from music

• Listening to the Quran consistently

• Facing the Qiblah when learning

• Try to sit on the floor when you decide to memorise

THINGS WHICH WEAKEN THE MEMORY:

• Sin

• Music

• Sour things such as “China fruit, Chorya” etc. Some pious predecessors have also mentioned that too many take outs also affect the memory

• Interacting casually with Ghair mahrams (those whom you can marry)

• Smoking,

• Poor diet

• Not enough sleep

• Lack of exercise

1. Sincerity. Make sure that the intention you are making is only for the sake of Allāh SWT, to seek His Pleasure so that inshā’Allāh, with His Mercy, we will be rewarded in the Aakhirah. It is not to show off in front of others that you have memorized a lot. Sincerity is not a one time factor rather it’s a continual battle that you always have to renew.

2. Consistency . The more frequently you memorize, the easier it becomes. It is very essential to be consistent, and not to skip even one day. There is no Week-end in

worship. The bare minimum that one should memorize is at least 3 lines, 5 is more ideal. If you are consistent, inshā’Allāh, you will be able to be huffadh in 5-6 years

3. Timing. The first thing you should do in the day is memorize – even do so before your breakfast, because this is your spiritual breakfast. The best time to memorize is before Fajr.

4. Atmosphere. Have a secluded place to go to and memorize in a place that is quiet. You just can’t memorize properly with distractions, so turn off all your devices (like cell phones etc.)

5. Familiarity: start at the same time, at the same place and use the same mushaf every day. You need to have your own copy of the Mushaf and it will later become so dear to you.

6. No Magic trick: repeat, repeat, repeat, over and over again. It is just repetitive recitation and/or listening that will help to memorize. REPETITION IS THE KEY TO MEMORISATION

7. Memorize with the meaning: read the translation before you start and try to match the Arabic words with their meanings

8. Surround yourself with recitation: listen to the Qur’an. Before you start memorize, listen to what you are about to memorize. Sh. Husary is highly recommended

9. Have a good Ustaadh ( Teacher): get a friend, a family member or someone you know who will listen to your recitation every day. Ideally, get someone who is also memorizing to create a peer pressure system.

10. Recite daily in your ṣalāh what you have memorized. If you forget one portion, you will immediately rush towards the

Qur’an and correct your mistake and you will never do this mistake again.

11. Triple daily dose:

a) New memorization at your assigned time of the day

b) Revision of the previous 7 days, just before you start the new memorization: This is because the fastest thing you forget is the new memorization. And doing so, will also build the connector between the old ones and the new portion you are going to memorize. Plus, it will be a good warm up for the brain when you recall from your memory and recite, before you go into the real exercise of doing the new memorization.

c) At a later/another time of the day, revise those before the recent 7 days. The bare minimum should be 4-5 pages.

12. Do not jump around. Be consistent. Don’t try to go to another surah if you find it difficult and stick to the order. That way, you will have the satisfaction of having completed a juz rather than leaving some portions here and there.

13. The three chunks. Start from the back. Shorter surahs will bring you a big boost. You should divide the memorization of the Qur’an in three parts:

a) Juz 28, 29, 30 or just Juz 29, 30
b) Surah Al-Kahf till Juz 28
c) Surah Al-Baqara to Surah Al-Kahf

Bismillah
Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullah,

This article was published earlier in the year by SISTERS Magazine. It focuses on the power of the Qur’an & the importance of acquiring Qur’anic knowledge & understanding:


In the pre-dawn prayer in a Cairo masjid, Haafidha Rayhaanah Omar finds herself embraced by the intensity of the Qur’anic recital and affirms the journey that had brought her here.

Were we late? Shocked into wakefulness by the fear of missing suhoor, I frantically grabbed my bedside clock. Blurry-eyed and in a panic, thinking of my then 7 year old son’s enthusiasm for fasting in the heat and length of a Cairo summer’s day, I anxiously looked again and paused

“It’s all right, Rayhaanah, there’s still time,” my husband gently reassured me. It was 2:30am and we had just napped for thirty minutes, yet it felt like hours had passed since the late night prayers at Masjid Fatima Zahra. In rapid preparation, we quickly made our way over to the masjid, eager to join the congregation.
The Imam recited from the earlier verses of revelation, from Surah Al-Mudathir. And in the ebb and flow of his intonation, I found myself embraced in the intensity of the Qur’an’s power.
Then, nourished with food for the soul, I was ready to face the long fast ahead.

Generation upon generation from the time of Allah’s beloved Prophet SAW have been mesmerised by the beauty, eloquence and rhythm of the Qur’an.

I am often reminded by my husband of this incident illustrating the power of the Qur’an, even to those who do not understand Arabic and therefore do not understand its meaning. It’s customary for Egyptians to commence official meetings with the recitation of the Qur’an. And in a prior instance, the world renowned reciter, Shaykh Abdul Basit Abdus Samad, began reciting at an event with non-Muslim Russian delegates. Upon hearing the Qur’an they wept, “We don’t understand what it means, yet these words touch our hearts.” Indeed, since revelation began, listeners of the Qur’an have been visibly moved by it, without necessarily understanding it or even believing in it.

The Qur’an is easy to memorise, making so many around the world inheritors and protectors of Allah’s Word. Living in the Middle East, I often meet Arab scholars who constantly voice their admiration for memorisers for whom Arabic is neither their spoken language nor their mother tongue: “Strange, amazing, miraculous indeed!” they say.

But what is more significant than reciting and memorising the Grand Word of Allah? Understanding it. Truly understanding the Qu’ran.
Do we wish to be counted amongst those of the past for whom books were revealed but who made no effort to understand the guidance they held?

“The likeness of those who were entrusted with the (obligation of the) Taurat, but who subsequently failed in those (obligations), is as the likeness of a donkey which carries huge burdens of books (but understands nothing from them). How bad is the example of people who deny the signs of Allah? And Allah guides not the people who are Dhalimun (disbelievers)” (Al-Jumu’ah: 5).
Abdullah ibn Umar RA, the son of the leader of the Muslims, Umar bin al Khattab RA, played an important role in the transmission of Prophetic traditions. He was part of the chain of narrators referred to by Imam Bukhari as ‘The Golden Chain’. Abdullah ibn Umar RA completed the memorisation of Surah Al Baqarah over a period of fourteen years.

Whilst one could easily memorise it over a period of three months, he took fourteen years. This was the practice of the Prophet’s SAW companions: They recited the revealed verses first, then they affirmed complete faith in it, then they memorised the verses and lastly, they followed the injunctions and prohibitions mentioned therein.

Although Arabic is the chosen language of the Qur’an, understanding the Qur’an does not mean simply understanding the literal meanings of the Arabic language. It includes a deeper grasp of its idioms, expressions and context. Through the context of the verses or the reasons for revelation, we begin to understand the intended meanings within the Qur’an.

Allah Most High tells us, “And We send down of the Qur’an, that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe…”
But the verse then continues with a warning to those who refuse to accept the commands:
“… and it increases the Dhalimun (wrong-doers) in nothing but loss” (Al-Israa’: 82).
These verses are a healing and a mercy only if we open ourselves to them.

So, how can you open yourself to the Qur’an and begin to understand it?

Here are some stepping stones to guide you upon this well-lit path:

• Purify your intention, make a concerted decision and have a willingness to understand;
• Embark on a journey towards understanding Arabic;
• Focus on the verses and ponder over their meanings;
• Focus on understanding the chapters, not simply completing them;
• Utilise resources to increase your Qur’anic vocabulary.

And so it was that, just 8 months later, my family and I arrived in Egypt, the land of mystical beauty that is home to 1400 years of Islamic history and academia. I always yearned to learn how to live the Qur’an, so that my character and actions would reflect the message of the Qur’an. And I had long since realised that this could only come through understanding. Egypt has long been regarded as home to some of Islam’s most recognised Qur’anic scholars, and the opportunity to benefit from their traditional circles of learning had brought my family and I to the Land of the Qurraa’ (reciters). We had never dreamed of a Ramadhan like this! The whole of Cairo shifted into a spiritual mode. We tasted the sweetness of the love of Qur’an at every ‘tea-room’, supermarket, shawarma rotisserie and even the hip, young clothing outlets. Everyone played the Qur’an – or recited it.
This was why I was here. And the continuous ambiance of the mesmerising, rhythmic word of Allah Most High just affirmed it.

“If the hearts are pure, they will never satisfy their hunger from the Book of Allah.” (Uthman ibn Affan RA [Hayaatus-Sahaaba]

Haafidha Rayhaanah Omar is an international motivational speaker for the empowerment of Muslimaat. She is an award-winning radio personality & the founder of a mentorship company on tahfeedhul Qur’an.
http://www.feeqalbee.com

Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullah
Dear Friends,

I pray that you are all progressing well with your hifdh – whether it be review or the memorisation of new verses, mashaAllah.
This week, I’m pleased to share with you all an article written on a topic close to the heart of every hifdh student and teacher: It’s about issues regarding the mental block one experiences during the hifdh journey.
Alhamdulillah, one of the best write-ups on the topic thus far – comprehensive, practical and indeed, very insightful!

May your days be blessed with devotion & love for al Qur’aan!
Rayhaanah

***

by Sister Fajr (may Allah preserve her)

Hubut (هبوط)

This Qur’an, as much as it is the Gift of Allah which He gives to whom He wishes, it is also the test of Allah for many of us. If we’ve made a sincere decision to memorise the Qur’an, this Book which took 23 years to come down to Earth… we also need to realize that it’s not really going to be one simple, easy, straightforward road from the moment of ‘Azm (resolve) to the day of khatm (completion). It is the case that we’ll face many obstacles on the way, and one obstacle which is not always spoken about is a particular one which I call: Hubut – هبوط (an Arabic term meaning ‘diminution, lack of motivation, laxity, mental blocks, laziness, weakness, slackness’ – you get the idea)

In the course of your Hifdh, watch out for the ‘Hubut’ moments. Those days when you can’t seem to memorise anything, you have a mental block & your motivation feels like it’s just faced the firing squad. Yep, you know what I’m talking about… it’s a strange phenomenon faced by everyone but for the student memorizing Qur’an these ‘down moments’ are public enemy no.1, they can really mess you up and throw you off-course if you don’t know how to deal with them. Some students face major moments of ‘futur’ (laxity) and as a result; they abandon memorisation entirely and never reach their goal of Hifdh al-Qur’an (even though they have memorised over half the Qur’an done). Yeah, it happens.

It’s a frustrating period of time which makes a person sad, disheartened and feel like they’ll never achieve anything. So the one who used to memorise 2 pages a day is reduced to memorizing only a few verses, the one who used to wake up earlier than crows finds himself in hibernation and the one who used to make time for Hifdh despite his busy schedule can no longer be bothered with things.

So why does it happen and when does it happen?

Well, I guess that’s one for the psychologists to answer but in general, these moments can occur randomly and for different reasons. As a student you’ll have always been told to steer clear of sins (the wise advice of Wakee’) and this is because sins bring about these moments of hubut faster and more frequently than anything else – and once you begin to suffer from it, it creates the perfect atmosphere for one to abandon and forget the Qur’an. It’s a major tool of Shaytan which he uses to mislead the slaves of Allah from becoming constant in good deeds (watch him enter hubut into all your ‘ibadat). But sometimes in a person’s attempts of avoiding sin, they fall into the other ‘less known’ causes of hubut:

Stress
Work overload
Long periods of not listening to or reciting Qur’an
Emotions running high or low/emotional instability (such as anger, over-excitement, depression, mood-swings, giddiness etc).
Thinking too much
Eating/sleeping too much
Not finding a companion to work with or a teacher to assist you
Too much empty time
Boredom
Receiving too much criticism from others

For sisters, you may notice hubut near the times of your menstrual cycle and hence you face mental blocks either before, during or after your period.

So what do we do?

Good question, my friend!

But a better question is: ‘What would you do if you were on your way somewhere important and something blocked your road?’ Or ‘What if you were going home from university or work but as you come to the tube station, the Underground folks tell you that the Northern Line has been suspended’ (doesn’t that always happen?) and your route home has now been affected. What do you do?

Your answers would probably include things like:

– Avoid the blockage

– Get around it or move it out of your way somehow

– Find a different route

– Wait a while for things to clear

– Don’t rely on London’s Transport! J

Please, Fajr… something more detailed?

Ok, ok…

· First thing first: When you’ve hit your moment of ‘hubut’, it’s important that you do not end up doing the dreaded, which is: stopping your Hifdh altogether. You can decrease your portion if necessary, but never halt it. Instead, to make up for things, try to increase your listening of Qur’an so have your Surah playing in your iPod or cassette player, around the house, in the car, on your way to work etc. If you are familiar with your hubut and know that it’ll only last a few hours or a day, then maybe take a break from Hifdh for that time period and do something different until your laxity passes by.

· If your moment of hubut is due to something physical (e.g. you’re tired, hungry, or stressed etc) then you need to satisfy this first and overcome it. So sleep well, eat well, relax, and maybe get a massage and do some stretches if your menstrual cycle has made you feel like a hippo stuck in mud lol.

· Stay away from anything which will lower your spirits or demotivate you – be it junk food (this is crime I say), loneliness, laziness, boredom, lack of support, friends/family who may criticize your efforts (be kind and patient with them but take a break as well) basically whatever does not float your boat and gets you down.

· Having some organisation in your life is like having salt and vinegar in your fish and chips. Really, it does wonders to be tidy, neat and organised – and it actually leads you to become more organised and focused at mind. With Hifdh of Qur’an, you need space. That means physical space (periods of solitude to contemplate and memorise) as well as giving yourself mental ‘space’ – if you overwhelm your brain with a hundred ‘things to-do’ and stick-it notes that are scattered in your mind, you just won’t find the focus, motivation or time for Hifdh.

. Routines are the best! You may enjoy living in the fast lane and being like a spontaneous person, but sometimes you need those ‘mundane’ routines in life. Think of them as ‘Thawabit’ – constants that hold you down whenever you feel like you’re about to fall off the road. If for example, you have a regular routine of coming home from work, showering, eating and then sitting down for half an hour to memorise half a page, then when you’re hit by hubut one day, you will naturally still be composed and find it easier to continue with that routine compared to someone who has no routine for their Hifdh – and were you to miss that daily half an hour of Hifdh, you will actually feel weird like something is missing! (Well, it is.)

· Stay active. Have workout sessions where you physically exercise your body, and depending on how fit you are, I would recommend doing rigorous exercise at least two or three times a week – it’ll make you more alert, creates a sense of passion/ambition in life, keeps things like depression, laziness and tiredness at bay and guess what? It’s a sharp sword against hubut and futur.

· Have a deadline, always. Set one deadline for overall Hifdh (e.g. by July 2010) and have another deadline for every commencing week and month etc. Make sure you write these deadlines in different places – on your work desk, in kitchen, as a reminder on your phone, or if you’re a typical Londoner have it engraved on the front of your oyster card! This way, whenever you are faced with hubut, you still have a focus and something to work towards, no matter what.

And the list goes on… Seriously, books can be written on this topic.

A point to note: If you look back at the pre-mentioned causes of hubut, you’ll notice a common factor… they are mainly causes which preoccupy and affect one’s heart. Hence, to avoid hubut, avoid anything which affects the healthy state of your heart, e.g. having too much attachment to this world.

Realise that through the course of memorising Qur’an you will be undergoing a form of training whereby you attain characteristics of a believer insha’Allah – e.g. firm and correct belief, patience, zuhd, gratitude, contemplation, determination, courage, humbleness, you gain good judgement, sound mind, kindness & ease in character (riqqa), and so on bi’ithnillah.

So it’s a training period to see you through life… and naturally any form of training will consist of testing moments or obstacles and hence hubut (as much as it’s an annoying and frustrating occurrence) it actually serves a purpose in the long run – so don’t be disheartened and definitely do not give up J

I ask Allah to keep us and our resolves firm. May He protect us from the downfalls and pitfalls upon this path. Amin

Bimsillah
Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullah
Dear sisters & aspiring Haafidhaat,

May the week ahead bring ease, success & productivity in your tahfeedh journey. May all your goals be fulfilled & your hifdh-related tasks accomplished.

As per the request of many of our blog subscribers, I’ll be sharing with you the podcast link of a radio programme that I presented on the topic of hifdh. In this programme, I discussed the progress of muslim women committing the Holy Qur’aan to memory & shared ideas / resources:

http://www.radioislam.org.za/a/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=17369&Itemid=125

Listen, learn, share & be inspired!
Rayhaanah

Bismillah
Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullah
Dear friends & students,

2011 & with technology abound, hifdh students, teachers & mentors have numerous learning tools at their disposal. Indeed, a blessing & a catalyst that allows for the individual to measure progress & which encourages a sense of responsibility & interactive learning, especially for the younger students.
Yes, we’re spoit for choice with literally dozens of choices:

*mind mapping
*hifdh charts
*memory skills
*audio (iPod, mp3, CD, internet, etc.)
*visual (Qur’aan websites, youtube, Kindle, smart phoe applications,One touch mus-haf, etc.)

When coaching a student the topic of hifdh resource tools is often broached. And many a student will indicate that whilst they have an iPod, iPad, mp3 , the One Touch mus-haf, etc., at their disposal, the choices are simply overwhelming! Meaning: Where does one start? How does one choose which tool to incorporate? And why?

A word of advise: try making choices that can positively steer your hifdh in the direction ahead: opt for simplistic & effective, with a focus on saving time & increasing productivity, rather than applications or gadgets that serve as ‘time thieves’. Along the way, we’ve all learnt of the value of time when memorising al Qur’aan .. ’nuff said 😉
Different tools may assist your hifdh at different stages of your learning, or you may find one specific tool that is effective & works for you and your hifdh.. great!

Always make sure that you’ve chosen a hifdh tool to aid review during haidh & busy or challenging times, for eg: exams, work, family commitments,moving house, maternity leave, recuperating after an illness, etc.
What works for one individual may not necessarily work for others. This depends largely on ones learning patterns, hifdh & personal schedule, or access to resources.

But with today’s fast-paced lifestyles utilising atleast 1 resource tool is vital: for consolidating revision, strengthening retention, improvement of tajweed, enhancing concentration skills (more on concentration skills in a future blog post inshaa Allah!).

So, ask yourself: what works for me? And most importantly, am I using this tools consistently?

Wishing you a successful & productive week ahead in your hifdh journey!
Rayhaanah

Bismillah
Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullah

Dear sisters:

As we draw closer to the month of Ramadhaan, there is an amazing, spiritual vibe in homes, communities and societies.
Believers everywhere are preparing for this month that promises tremendous spiritual potential & inspires an awakening from deep within.

NOW is the perfect opportunity to strengthen your relationship & connection with Al Qur’aan.

Many students have requested advise for Qur’aan preparation, and this would differ from one individual to the next.
But what remains a part of the constant gradient, is that we maintain commitment, focus and consistency.

So, create an outline of your personal Qur’aan goals, ensuring that the 3 T’S are maintained

*Tilaawat : recitation of Qur’aan, even though youmay be memorising or may have completed memorisation of Qur’aan ; this will aid your memorisation skills and improve tajweed recognition & fluency in recital. Most importantly, it provides you with the opportunity to connect to the Glorious Qur’aan.
*Tahfeedh: whilst some students and teachers prefer to postpone memorisation for post-Ramadhaan, there are those students who continue forth with memorisation. Work at maintaining a minimum amount each day, so that you will inshaa Allah, achieve your month-end goal.
*Tathbeet: this is to strengthen the surahs of the Qur’aan which you have already memorised. Basically, this would entail intensive revision. It may include having to relearn some verses, or apply yourself more, in order that you strengthen and improve your memorisation. This form of intense revision would include listening to the Qur’aan (audio), together with sharpening memory retention skills. One of the best ways to strengthen your hifdh, lies in including more of your hifdh IN your salaah – fardh, sunnah and nafl.

This Ramadhaan, choose to remain committed to your Qur’aan dream, focus on the improvements that you wish to implement in your learning programme, and above all, maintain consistency in your routine & efforts.
These are your stepping stones,as you strive to honour the Qur’aan, this Ramadhaan and always!

Drop me a line at: rayhaanah@feeqalbee.com with your hifdh / Ramadhaan related queries; And if you grant permissionfor us to re-post your question (anonymously) here at the blog, please let us know, too.

Stay inspired!
Rayhaanah