Friday, February 26, 2021

I want my child to become a Hafidh (Molana Ismail Ibn Nazir Satia)


Review by M E Rahman 


As a passionate advocate of many years for the art of Quranic memorisation I picked up this short and concise guide with great anticipation and gusto. The fact that the text is a short one greatly intrigued me as I strongly believe that instructions in such matters are far more effective in brief.  


It was reported that the Prophet (SA) said: “It will be said to the companion of the Quran: “Read, ascend and recite like you used to recite in the world, for surely your abode is the last verse you read!” 


This guide by the Author takes great pains to highlight the traits a student of the Quran should focus on developing, namely piety and good conduct with one and all.  


Becoming a Hafidh of the Quran is not an exact science. Aside from the standard three-year processes delivered by various institutes we now see a shift in learning culture with parents investing in studying of methods and implementation of tips, resources and brain exercises to assist the student with memorisation.  


There is also the new phenomenon of the older and more mature student, who has a long-term plan and is content to memorise a few chapters per year. 


This is the Author’s very first book and it greatly interested me that he is a fellow blogger and used this medium to first transcribe his thoughts, tips, and guidelines. He states he isn’t an expert but rather someone who wishes to share his love for the Quran and useful recommendations and insights gained over years of teaching students in various settings.  


Before one reads the book, they should be reminded that becoming a Hafidh is not obligatory on everyone and if a community has a few Huffadh to carry this obligation then the rest are absolved of this duty. For context it is useful to note that not all the Sahabah memorised the Quran, nor was the Master of Hadith Imam Bukhari a Hafidh either. 


And so, with this regard the Author exhorts parents to strike a balance, to have realistic expectations and be aware that their children may not be equipped to fulfil this. This scene reminds me of watching football parents on the sidelines, screaming, shouting and profusely expressing disappointment at the performance of their little charges, little realising the downside and psychological impact on the wellbeing of the child. They also berate the officials and everyone else connected as their frustration spills over like a volcanic eruption. They live their broken dreams through the lives of their children. 


In such circumstances it is better that a child memorises the essential Surahs and practises them consistently. Many students as such who do complete memorisation with such parental pressure behind them may never go on to look at or revise a single page thereafter as their experience has developed a complete loathing for the Quran.  


It is all about creating a balance, one which expertly takes into consideration all needs and aspects of the learner, with the main intention becoming to preserve the memorisation. Imam Ibn Ul Munadi narrates in Mutashabih Al Quran, “The Salaf were always afraid of forgetting the Quran after they memorised it, because it was classed as a shortcoming.” 


The Author skilfully addresses the hopes of “Hifdh Parents, describing them as “A mum or Dad whose social, emotional, physical and psychological decisions are governed by what Para (chapter) their children are memorising.” It is preferable that families work together to develop a love for the Quran and encourage each other to instil its important messages within their lives. This can only enhance the learning and memorisation journey for the student. 


The Author provides expert tips and analysis and I have hand picked some for the benefit of the reader: 


  • Observe your child’s memorisation aptitude and seek advice and a second opinion. 
  • Instil the love of the Quran – One method is employing the use of Audio Qurans. 
  • Introduce the culture of learning the Quran early in their lives. 
  • Provide incentives and rewards for achievements and milestones. 
  • Have a set timetable – Order and discipline is important. 
  • Encourage healthy competition. Do not chastise for one child not emulating the good results of another. 
  • Model by engaging in some memorisation yourself. 
  • Ambience and environment is crucial. I have seen instances of banging doors, relatives and family barging in, loud TV and music in the next room. This is a nightmare scenario for a student. A serene and relaxed atmosphere without distractions is an absolute must. 
  • Pace accordingly – To some it may be a three-year journey, for others it may take a decade. I know someone who completed memorisation in three months. Everybody has their own limitations – The speed of the journey may vary but the destination is the same. 
  • Be patient at all times. 


A lot of Hifdh parents would agree that it is difficult and cumbersome to motivate your own children, so a good teacher is essential. It isn’t always a great idea to have 20-30 kids in a class. This can’t be compared to mainstream school as the students are with their teacher for barely 2 hours each evening. Some parents will go for extra support whilst others will make financial sacrifices to go 1-1 to ensure their child receives 100% of the teacher’s focus and attention. It helps in these instances if the teacher can become a mentor to the student at the same time for a far more superior teaching and learning experience.  


A good teacher is: 


  • A mentor and guide. 
  • Will be prepared to demonstrate by reading out loud. 
  • Will exercise patience at all times. 


As described by Umm Muhammad, memorising the Quran is like working out with weights. At first you lift light and heavier weights seem impossible. You stand and admire in awe how others are effortless in lifting far heavy weights. But if you persevere then you too will find yourself conquering those weights with great ease. 


I have found this guidance a pleasure to read. It has informed and educated me whilst also rekindling a desire to brush the cobwebs and refresh old practises. I am most certain that the reader will benefit tremendously from this book and urge parents, students and teachers to take time out, read and reflect upon its contents. 


I complained to Wakee about my poor memory 

Give up your sins was his advice to me 

For knowledge is a light from divinity 

And the light of God is veiled by iniquity 


Imam Shafi’ee 

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