Busy Mothers Over 40 Memorise The Quran

The right attitude, strong determination, passion, and grit are all ingredients of a successful hifz journey.

I’ve recently heard men tell our sisters that they shouldn’t memorise the Qur’ān because of marriage. The idea is that a woman will get busy with family and house duties and will forget what they memorised. Others will say that you shouldn’t because you will need to give Qur’ān time and you won’t get that as a wife or mother. This fear doesn’t mean someone shouldn’t memorise the Qur’ān You can argue the same for a husband or a father. In fact, I was told that I shouldn’t memorise the Qur’ān for similar reasons. You will get busy working and have responsibilities, and you will end up forgetting. So don’t bother memorising. These comments come from Imāms who themselves have memorised the Qur’ān and are living in the west. Unfortunately, such Imāms have succeeded in making some brothers and sisters doubt themselves. They’ve made them avoid creating a relationship with the Qur’ān and led them to believe that they can’t and shouldn’t do anything.

The statements that these Imāms make might have a reality to them in the sense that there are sisters that have, in reality, memorised the Qur’ān and have forgotten it. Likewise, there are brothers that memorised and have forgotten it. They weren’t able to maintain a relationship due to many reasons. The solution isn’t to tell someone that they shouldn’t memorise the Qur’ān, rather it is to explain and create systems that they can adopt in life to maintain their Qur’ān. When they memorised, were they taught about habit formation? Were they taught in a way that promoted healthy habit-building? Were they taught a long-term mindset? Were they given the tools and techniques to live with the Qur’ān as adults? I don’t think so.

Forget those that memorised prior to marriage, there are people that have memorised raising young children. Those who believe they can’t memorise because they are busy should read the stories I’m about to share with you.

1. A mother who started memorising Qur’ān at the age of 40

This is what she says:

“I started at age 40 doing half a page a week and then moved to a page a week. Ramadān came and I got busy with cooking and my kids. Then I found an institute and saw elderly ladies memorising. I joined them even if it was a slow process of doing half a page per week. Then I started Tajweed and advanced in it. So I decided to advance in my Hifz too for an Ijāzah. When I did this, I now had to do 5 pages per week with no mistakes and correct Tajweed. So I started writing the Qur’ān and began memorising at night when there was no housework to do, whenever I had some free time. I would get my seven boys to help me in the kitchen and tell them that I have important work to do and they need to help me. In two years, by doing 5 pages a week, I was able to complete my memorisation. Then I had a major operation which took me away from the Qur’ān. But as soon as I was able to, I returned to revising to maintain what I had. It took me another 4 years to revise it and now I maintain it by competing in competitions so I can test myself.”

This sister started when she was 40 with 7 boys and she struggled, as a woman and as a mother.⁣

Sometimes she felt like she wouldn’t do it. She felt incapable. Moments of doubt.⁣

She constantly made dua for ease.⁣

She had to take time off from sleep, and when possible time off from housework.⁣

These people inspire us and keep us going.⁣

They teach us that attitude is everything.⁣

2. A mother over 40 memorised within 4 years

This is a story that I was told personally. She told me, “I thought I would never do it, but Allāh helped me memorise the entire Qur’ān!”

“I’m over 40 and a mother of young teenage children. But I did it in 4 years. I used every moment I could get. I memorised 15 ajzā’/para (half of the Qur’ān) on my own first. Initially, I did a Qur’ān course where I learnt Tajweed, translation, and Tafseer. This was when I wanted to memorise the Qur’ān. I was too busy to commit to having a teacher at first. So I used to record myself and correct my mistakes until I reached 15-17 ajzā’. Now I needed a teacher! Because the review was becoming difficult. I wouldn’t get time to cover what I needed to by recording myself, listening and correcting myself. With a teacher, I could have better focus and efficiency. I used to listen to Mishary Rashid al-Afasy while cooking, driving, or doing house chores. I found it best to memorise at Fajr or early morning. Then after ‘Asr for review. I started with 30-minute sessions, and then slowly added more minutes on to this. Dedicating time every day is the most important things, even if you’re going slow. Never miss a day. Action, however little, creates motivation and is progress. Today, I am in the process of getting an Ijāzah*. You think it might be too late, or you’re too busy, no! Your job is to start. With sincerity and the help of Allāh, be assured that Allāh will help you.”

*The ijāzah referred to is basically the process of reciting the entire Qur’ān with mastery to a teacher who recited the Qur’ān in the same way to his teacher, who recited to his… This is a chain of transmission all the way back to the Prophet ﷺ. Any student would do this to gain approval and authenticate their own recitation and memorisation before someone who had done it with his teachers. This is a sanad. Our deen is built upon this. After the student has learnt the rules of Tajwīd and recited it correctly to the required standard will be authorised in Qur’ān. This is different to certification or permission to recite. It’s standardising and authenticating knowledge.

You must not only believe in yourself but you should remain strong with your covenant.⁣

Action is the best motivation. The day you don’t do anything, it hits you down. The day you do something and you do really well, it boosts you. The day you take action but it didn’t go too well, sure, it hurts but you tried. You did something. It’s a day you made gains. You feel it. You feel a sense of achievement.⁣

Look at this sister, she had a lot on. She had to juggle many things. Recently there were brothers and sisters that spoke advising women not to memorise simply because of marriage. That’s simply not true at all. Sisters like this one and others I have shared stories of are living proofs that it’s possible. For brothers likewise.⁣

You can do this.⁣

Say, Alhamdulillāh and keep going.⁣

Don’t let motivation put you down. Motivation comes and goes. You need discipline. The baby always gets back up. It wants to walk and learn. Over time, the baby gets there.⁣

You’re a baby too in your journey. Won’t you get back up? Won’t you keep learning? Won’t you get there?⁣

3. A mother that started in her mid-30s

Again, a sister that told me personally, she said:

“I started hifdh in my mid-30s during Ramadan..it took me 15 yrs along with Arabic grammar which I am still learning slowly. Alhamdulillah I finished memorizing just before Ramadan. But the journey continues till death inshallah…many had raced past me having completed in far less yrs than me.. Alhamdulillah the thought of giving up never crossed my mind. it’s the book of Allah . why should I give up..and these posts of so very old people memorizing makes me so happy..may Allah accept it from all of us. aameen”

“I always wanted to recite with proper tajweed, so I enrolled in Dubai Markaz Al Huda to learn tajweed ..but the class was just weekly once..and I wanted to do more..my girls were small and I used to take them with me .and then later on after searching managed to get for them ustadh to come and teach them..I used to sit in the other room and listen to lessons…which was not enough for me..Ramadan of 2005 one day I was so overcome with emotion that I set out walking midday searching for classes in my area..I lived in a part of Sharjah where there were many cultural centres art .. calligraphy etc…I went to many centres asking if they had tajweed classes or knew of one…it was very disappointing that day and I was in tears..imagine my surprise and relief when a friend called me after just few days and informed me that a masjid nearby to my house will be starting tajweed and hifdh classes. I normally used to go to another masjid for tarawih..but that day when I went and met the teacher (Jordanian) and enrolled myself tears wouldn’t stop… Alhamdulillah the classes began..and my makharij was so hopeless ..took me months to correct myself Alhamdulillah along with studying all the tajweed rules…I went very slow..as I was very much interested in learning Arabic grammar too as I knew it will help me in hifdh and understanding the meaning..for that I attended classes ..for two yrs which too were weekly once…later on I completed the three madinah Arabic books watching brother Asif meherali videos…Baarak Allahu lahu..and also some other classes .. Alhamdulillah my classes are revision based ..my goal was just two juz a year…we have a lot of revision exams and we are not allowed to give jadeed(we give in twos) unless we give reexam of old ajzaas …so suppose we are on 21 and 22 we have to give many exams eg in 5s and then lastly we have to give whole 20 ajzaas at once and once we pass that we give the jadeed..so Alhamdulillah we are constantly revising..I had bouts of sickness in between all these years..but Alhamdulillah Allah made ease..
I feel Arabic grammar is so very important..we have many orientalists learning Arabic grammar with niyyah to finding faults in the Quran نعوذ بالله ..and they keep pointing out mistakes..I feel our youth must be strong in Arabic grammar and be aware of this fitna..may Allah guide us all and make us more determined to memorize the beautiful Kalam of Allah and protect us from procrastination…life is short ..we never know when we will be called back to our Creator..we don’t know if our أعمال are accepted..at least we will tell Allah ..ya rabb we tried our best ..we didn’t neglect your book..so forgive us our sins

May Allah Grant Ikhlaas in our niyyahs ..aameen…and whenever we find ourselves faltering we should look into ourselves what are we doing wrong..ask forgiveness and keep going. Shaitan wants to divert us from our goals..and makes us feel…you are sinning and you are doing hifdh..but believe me Quran disciplines us..we should never give up on the Mercy of Allah. I love these verses:

39:53
۞ قُلْ يَـٰعِبَادِىَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا۟ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا۟ مِن رَّحْمَةِ ٱللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ ٱلذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلْغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ ٥٣

Say, ˹O Prophet, that Allah says,˺ “O My servants who have exceeded the limits against their souls! Do not lose hope in Allah’s mercy, for Allah certainly forgives all sins.[1] He is indeed the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

[1] No matter how big someone’s sins are, they cannot be bigger than Allah’s mercy. Based on 4:48, the only unforgivable sin in Islam is if someone dies while disbelieving in Allah or associating others with Him in worship. In an authentic narration collected by At-Tirmiⱬi, the Prophet (ﷺ) reports that Almighty Allah says, “O children of Adam! As long as you call upon Me, putting your hope in Me, I will forgive you for what you have done, and I will not mind. O  children of Adam! If your sins were to reach the clouds of the sky and then you sought My forgiveness, I would ˹still˺ forgive you. O  children of Adam! If you were to come to Me with sins filling the whole world and then you came to Me without associating other gods with Me, I would certainly match your sins with forgiveness.”

39:54
وَأَنِيبُوٓا۟ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ وَأَسْلِمُوا۟ لَهُۥ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَكُمُ ٱلْعَذَابُ ثُمَّ لَا تُنصَرُونَ ٥٤

Turn to your Lord ˹in repentance˺, and ˹fully˺ submit to Him before the punishment reaches you, ˹for˺ then you will not be helped.

39:55
وَٱتَّبِعُوٓا۟ أَحْسَنَ مَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُم مِّن رَّبِّكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَكُمُ ٱلْعَذَابُ بَغْتَةًۭ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَشْعُرُونَ ٥٥

Follow ˹the Quran,˺ the best of what has been revealed to you from your Lord, before the punishment takes you by surprise while you are unaware,”

Allāh bless her and them. This works out to be an āyah a day with a heavy focus on the review. She didn’t do it alone – she eventually found a teacher. The sister went through a lot but never gave in. she got really ill, major spells of sickness. It took months and months just to learn Tajweed. She also learnt Arabic grammar. She kept going despite being made to look like she was slow and incapable.

These are all realities. A sister told me, “My mother completed her hifz when she was 62. She started at age 55.” Another told me, “My father completed his hifz when he was 60. It took him 15 years.”

You can!

Allāh grant blessing!

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