Hifz Buddy: The Most Successful and Productive Practices

Being a Qur’ān buddy or a Hifz buddy is a big deal. Company and friendships for the sake of Allāh with mutual respect, a common interest in Qur’ān and its memorisation is something to be envied.

It is a company that reminds you of goodness and is engaged in Remembrance. The Qur’ān tells us to remain connected to the best of company:

“(O My servant!) Stay tenaciously in the companionship of those who remember their Lord morning and evening, ardently seeking His pleasure…” (18:28)

The Prophet (ﷺ) was reportedly asked: “Which of our companions are best?” He replied: “One whose appearance reminds you of Allāh, and whose speech increases you in knowledge, and whose actions remind you of the hereafter.” (al-Muhāsibī)

Abū Mūsa reported: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Verily, the parable of good company and a bad company is only that of a seller of musk and a blacksmith. The seller of musk will give you some perfume, you will buy some, or you will notice a good smell. As for the blacksmith, he will burn your clothes or you will notice a bad smell.” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī and Muslim)

Anas ibn Mālik reported: The Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) said, “Verily, Allāh has His own people among humanity.” They said, “O Messenger of Allāh, who are they?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “They are the people of the Qur’ān, the people of Allāh and His chosen ones.” (Sunan Ibn Mājah)

Moreover company of the Qur’ān itself:

“The parable of the believer who recites the Qur’ān is that of a citrus fruit, which tastes good and has a pleasant scent. The parable of the believer who does not recite the Qur’ān is that of a date, which has no scent but tastes good. The parable of a hypocrite who recites the Qur’ān is that of basil, which has a pleasant scent but tastes bitter. The parable of the hypocrite who does not recite the Qur’ān is that of a vine, which has no scent and tastes bitter.” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī)

Having a Hifz buddy has many advantages yet I’ve seen many of you struggle to find someone. In this article, I will explain these benefits and explore the characteristics of a Hifz buddy who can support you in your Hifz. What are the best practices, and what makes a successful and productive practice. This can hopefully increase your chances of finding someone and potentially learn faster.

What is a Hifz Buddy?

A Hifz buddy is is someone you do Qur’an memorisation alongside with, offering each other mutual support, discussing goals and working together on your plans and tasks. It’s someone that keeps you accountable, motivated, enthusiastic, and organised.

If you’re alone you should connect with others who are memorising and on their journey with the Qur’ān. People that are committed to being accountable, productive, and consistent.

A Hifz buddy can also be an accountability partner. Perhaps you’ve already got a teacher but you want some extra support and motivation. This buddy can be someone that can keep you grounded outside your classes.

Who can be a Hifz Buddy?

Anyone can be a Hifz buddy for someone that is memorising the Qur’ān. Ideally it should be someone that is on the same path or goal. If not, it can even be a spouse, a friend, a parent, or relative.

If you don’t have a teacher and are doing it by yourself, and don’t have access to anyone, you should approach someone that you know or join communities or groups online to find someone.

The ideal Hifz buddy is someone that has either memorised the Qur’ān already (full or partially). Or someone that is on the path of memorising the Qur’ān with a specific goal. They can be a Hifz buddy to a likeminded individual.

Can a Hifz Buddy replace a teacher?

A Hifz buddy ultimately cannot replace a teacher unless you find someone that is on a higher level. Maybe they’ve studied Tajweed and are proficient and confident in recitation.

If you do want to have a Hifz buddy in replacement of a teacher then you should seek to pair up with someone that has sound and better recitation than you, so that they can correct you. They must also be willing to pair with you.

Nothing is better than a teacher that has traveled the path that you are seeking to get to.

What are the benefits of having a Hifz Buddy?

It can reduce procrastination and distractibility.

Staying focused and motivated are one of the biggest challenges Hifz students have to overcome. When you have a Hifz buddy, it will be easier to achieve because you will keep each other accountable. With common goals in mind, you will avoid unnecessary distractions and focus on what you need to do.

You can potentially learn faster (or better)

Imagine yourself in a classroom environment and you are all memorising the Qur’ān. one or two of the brothers or sisters are your friends. You all start at the same time. You attend the same classes. What do you think would happen? There’s going to be a bit of competition between you. You’ll find yourself wanting to improve and learn faster (or better).

When you’re memorising outside a classroom environment and you’re at home alone, you will want to try and replicate this. Having a Hifz Buddy is one of the means for this. In general: two brains are better than one. You can both learn new methods and techniques from each other. You can learn what’s working well and what isn’t. You can compete and test each other.

You can do more than memorisation

As you pair up with someone with the same goals, you can tailor you learning to whatever you want. This can include sessions for reflection, clarification, extra learning, making learning more accessible.

This can also mean that you can pair with someone that has the same learning style as you. For example, someone might only be able to memorise if they memorise with someone else (‘Repeat after me’ method).

You can listen and test each other

Besides teaching each other, bouncing off each other, motivating each other, and holding each other accountable, you can benefit from testing each other. You can do quizzes and help both of you to identify areas that need more attention.

Studying with someone motivates

As already mentioned, studying with someone can motivate both parties. Learning can get stressful and energy-draining. Having a friend to lean on in these difficult times can be helpful not only from a progress standpoint but also from a psychological one.

You can learn new strategies

All of us have our tips, tricks, and techniques when it comes to memorising and revising Qur’ān. There are so many resources now (hint hint) and sharing tips with others and learning theirs can be helpful too. You can end up finding someone or coming up with something together too.

Hifz buddies can knowledge-share with notes and resources

Another great way to maximise the benefit of having a Hifz Buddy is by sharing resources. Combining your notes, books, and additional research materials. You can end up discovering help you didn’t know.

Hifz buddies can make you 200-300% more productive

Especially in the case where you have an agreement to do your memorisation and revision together where you can see each other doing so. Doing this integrates 5 behavioural triggers to achieve a state of flow:

  • Pre-commitment (you have an agreement)
  • Implementation intentions (you know you’re doing it live, and know the what, why and how)
  • Social pressure (there’s some pressure)
  • Accountability (you can’t let them down)
  • Specificity in task definition (you will each know exactly what you will be doing)

Based on science and studies:

  • Committing to a goal in advance makes you more ambitious because of an effect known as discounting. Discounting is perceiving the costs and benefits of events in the future as relatively less significant than those of events in the present.
  • In addition, precommitment also improves outcomes on that goal, potentially due to the additional time allowed to prepare for and accommodate that goal.
  • Implementation intentions increase efficacy in completing a task or goal.
  • Social pressure and competition improves performance on most tasks. Research shows that the mere presence of another person improves human performance by 16 to 32 percent.
  • Accountability shows performance improvements of 230 to 310 percent in public goods experiments.
  • Across numerous goal- and intention-setting studies, 90 percent show a significant, positive impact on productivity when setting specific and challenging goals.

The flow state is what psychologists refer to as long stretches of intense focus.

Researchers Jeanne Nakamura and Csíkszentmihályi identify the following six factors as encompassing an experience of flow:

  1. Intense and focused concentration on the present moment
  2. Merging of action and awareness
  3. A loss of reflective self-consciousness
  4. A sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity
  5. A distortion of temporal experience, one’s subjective experience of time is altered
  6. Experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding, also referred to as autotelic experience

What this means is that you have pure focus on the task in a way that is full of presence, joy, and productivity. This flow is known to improve performance and “produce intense feelings of enjoyment”.

Initial research suggests that the flow experience also creates other benefits, including happiness, the frequency of positive moods, and personal development.

It has also been linked to to persistence and achievement, reducing anxiety and raising self-esteem.

Trust me, if you get this feeling with Qur’ān, you will experience a level of spritual joy beyond words. It’s that time where you just couldn’t stop reciting and all your worries in the world felt like they were washed away.

You can be better organised and have some fun

Lastly, it can be enjoyable to share your Hifz journey with another person. You won’t feel lonely. You can help organise each other and can even meet up to reward yourselves.

You can also be part of Hifz Groups rather than have a Hifz Buddy. it would be the same thing as Hifz Buddy but with the added factors of having multiple people in one group doing the same thing. You might create a class environment and keep each other in check.

What are the qualities to look for in a Hifz Buddy?

Now that you’ve learned about all the benefits of having a Hifz buddy, let’s learn how to start. First and foremost, you need to become a good Hifz buddy yourself. This way, the extra effort that your buddies put into Hifz with you can pay off for them too.

In the following sections of this article, I’ll explain in detail how to select a Hifz Buddy.

The 3 Types of Hifz Buddies

Choosing a Hifz buddy can be a confusing process. So I’ve put together some tips to help you select the absolute best one for you.

Depending on your personality, you will want to look for different characteristics that make someone a good partner for you for your Hifz.

The Leader

This personality type likes to be in charge and make all the decisions. A person of this type won’t be affected by what people think about them. This makes them have strong mentality, discipline, and focus on the task.

The best person to match with for this person is someone that likes to follow under someone’s lead (a follower). They should avoid studying with someone else that likes to lead (a leader) or is affected by what others think (a communicator).

The Communicator

This is a person that is super friendly and outgoing. They can be susceptible to what others think of them.

They are a good match with a Follower and a Doer. They should avoid a Leader and another Communicator.

The Doer

This person is dependable and likes routines. They are determined and persistent. They tend to feel very guilty if they don’t follow through.

They are a good match for anyone.

The Follower

These types of people follow rules. They are driven to do what is asked of them. They are very organised, enjoy routines, and don’t like to take the initiative.

They are a good match for anyone.

Consider the following:

  1. Compatibility.

Before choosing your Hifz buddy, ask yourself some personal questions:

  • How do you memorise?
  • How much do you like to talk?
  • Are you a team player?
  • Are you both at a similar level?
  • Do you both have similar goals?
  • Do you both have the same approach to memorisation?

Do not choose a Hifz buddy based on your shared interests or hobbies. You want to consider how well of a match you are in terms of Hifz and your style.

  1. Availability.

Another essential point to consider is your schedule – you want to find someone who has a similar one. If your potential Hifz buddy lives too far away or works inconvenient hours, then it might be better to look for someone else.

  1. Attitude.

It would help if you found someone who respects your time and schedule. Hifz partners should make things easier for each other. Who needs additional stress? Choose someone punctual, organised, and motivated.

This also means the mindset is positive. This is essential. All of us can get scared and unmotivated at times. That’s why it is critical to choose someone whose spirit can boost your confidence and mood.

Is this person serious and committed?

  1. Approach.

There is a significant difference between Hifz buddies and teachers. Remember that you don’t have to be a teacher to your Hifz buddy and explain everything. The goal should be to find someone who ideally matches your level. Otherwise, you could end up spending all your time working on the other person’s needs.

  1. Distractibility.

A good partner should be beneficial for your learning process. They should not be the ones distracting you. Thus, find someone who is as motivated and goal-driven as you. Having your best friend as your Hifz buddy might not be the best idea. If you have too many distractions going on together, it might be challenging to focus on Hifz.

How to be someone that can be an ideal Hifz Buddy

Remember that this is all about collaborative learning. This means that it is a process that requires the involvement of each person. That is, if you want to have a great Hifz buddy, you have to become one yourself. And here we will explain to you how to do it.

What You Should HaveExplanation
Hifz GoalsClear goals determine success. You should be ready to identify them together with your Hifz buddy to check on each other.
CompetitivenessA little friendly challenge is beneficial to do better. Thus, you should be prepared to participate in it.
Communication SkillsYou have to be able to discuss things in a friendly manner. Your Hifz buddy might understand it differently, and sharing it will help the whole process.
Ability to explain or teachOnce again, you don’t have to teach your partner. But this can prove to be useful. Sometimes you may need to explain things to your Hifz Buddy and so both of you need to be able to do that.
Study StrategiesEvery person has different learning styles. You should be ready to share yours with the buddy as they will explain what works for them.
Willingness to SupportThings might get rough for you and your partner. It’s essential to support each other when you get upset.
Punctual and ReliableMake sure you show dedication to the task, no excuses.

Doing Hifz with a Hifz Buddy: Step by step

First things first, you need to choose a suitable partner and prepare yourself for this responsibility. You can’t skip this step if you want to excel in collaborative learning.

You should follow these steps:

Step 1: Set the scene

You will need to first set the scene by choosing a convenient time and place to meet. What platforms will you use? What apps will you use? How will you communicate? How will you do things together?

Step 2: Create a schedule.

It is necessary to devote specific time to your Hifz sessions. If you’re going to be doing it together, agree on a time to have your Hifz sessions. Create a shared file with a schedule where all of you can make changes. You can use a shared calendar or any collaborative project management app for example.

Step 3: Know what your going to be memorising and doing in advance.

Set a specific goal of what you need to do for every session. You can’t be doing everything at once.

Step 4: Listen to each other and share any notes or resources.

Listen to each other and give feedback. Sharing valuable resources and clear notes is necessary. If you share your notes, your partner will share theirs.

Step 5: Plan time for revision and breaks.

You can’t be doing Hifz all the time. Devote some time for collaborative and individual revision sessions too, as well as for some rest time.

Step 6: Be prepared for each session or meet.

If you’ve agreed on anything to do during previous sessions, do it. Complete all the tasks you’ve decided to do. Make notes to discuss specific questions.

Step 7: Communicate.

Make sure to actually talk to your Hifz buddy. Your understandings and thoughts might be different, and it’s vital to share them.

Step 8: Consider teaching each other.

Explaining verses in your own words is an effective way to learn. Try taking turns and teaching each other specific issues.

Step 9: Test and assess each other.

Make regular quizzes and testing. That’s a helpful method of evaluating one’s progress and process. Plus, it’s useful for any group sessions.

Step 10: Agree on deadlines.

You want to be on track. Having a shared goal and due date will increase productivity and keep you focused.

Some parting tips and advice

It is a good practice to set:

– share weekly goals
– share your plans for it
– share what went well and what didn’t (reflect and seek improvement)
– make a daily communication (motivate, support, check-in, progress reports etc)
– set times and dates to recite to each other.

What can you do if your Hifz Buddy starts to become inconsistent and stops showing up?

Have to be upfront and honest. Best to be on the same wavelength.

Commitment contracts

The buddy needs to agree beforehand that together you will be consistent and show up as agreed. ‘To remember that we’re in this together. If we are serious about this, we need to also agree to set ourselves a commitment contract. It means if we don’t fulfil our word, we need to agree on the consequences.’

A recommendation would be something like anti-charity. You agree to send money to a cause/project that is fundamentally against your principles, thoughts, and ideals. Something you may even hate or that is anti-Islām. This motivates to a certain extent.

Also good to agree on any excuses that might be taken on board and what won’t be. For example, you’re ill – that’s fine. But if it’s something like ‘I fell asleep’, that’s not ideal.

Likewise, it can also be of benefit to agree on ways that you may reward each other after setting and hitting milestones. It can also have a competitive nature to it. A points system for example.

Try to understand each other’s needs, strengths, and weaknesses. Be appreciative of each other. You are there to support one another.

If anyone has reservations, agree to an initial period firstly to see where and how both of you work. If at the end of it there’s an understanding and a good gel, proceed.

Backup plans

Have a backup plan if something happens. There can be unforeseen circumstances out of one’s control. In this case, it’s good for each party to suggest someone that they speak to who can take over for that day or set of days while your usual partner can’t make it. That ensures one side at least doesn’t fall behind while the other has other needs to attend to.

Do people usually stick with their buddies until the end of their journey? How long can you keep each other motivated?

It can be trial and error but when you have a genuine individual as a buddy that’s agreeable, the chances of it are higher.

Another thing also is that if you have a group, the group itself can be a classroom environment where you can post recordings that can be listened to (depending on the way you want to learn of course). That removes the fear of one individual pulling out and then having no one else. Instead, you have group support.

Share documentation

Another thing: create a shared document. It can be a spreadsheet, shared note apps like Notion, Evernote, or something else. I think Trello would be good for this which is a project management tool. This document or project should be where you create a list of tasks, targets, and record your results. This way everyone can see what they’re doing.

Let’s leave it at this. I hope you found this article helpful, and now you know for sure if you need a Hifz buddy. Share this article with potential candidates to keep them interested.

Allāh grant blessing.

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