Do you need a teacher? Can you memorise the Qur’ān by yourself? These are questions that I am always asked. In this article, I want to share the answer.
In 2020, I asked over 1000+ people if they were doing hifz with a teacher or not. The overwhelming majority at the time responded with a no. This wasn’t a surprise to me. This is why this website exists. But is this an issue?
In my own journey, I have experienced hifz with different part-time schools, and multiple teachers, and learned by myself as well. I’ve done hifz part-time and full-time, during high school, college, university, a gap year, and while working. I’ve done it all, and I always get asked, what’s the best? Do you need a teacher? Can’t you DIY?
Yes, you can do it yourself. It’s possible. Many have done so and are doing so but it’s not recommended for the majority of us.
Why is having a hifz teacher important?
If you wanted to be a memory champion, you would go to learn from a former champion. They’ve been there and done it. Likewise, you would go to someone who has already mastered Qur’ān memorisation if you wanted to memorise the Qur’ān. Having a teacher that has gone through the ups and downs of hifz and has the know-how will grow your efforts.
Having a teacher that has the experience though isn’t enough. They also need to know how to teach, advise, and understand people. They need to know how to interact and learn above and beyond what they had experienced.
Nowadays everyone is teaching and it is creating problems. There are people that are toxic, unqualified, untrained, and are not doing a great job. For the most part, they are doing it for the money. For anyone teaching, you must remember it’s not all about what you know. You need to know how to teach, have true passion and love, you also need to understand people.
2. Motivation and Accountability
Having a good teacher will keep you consistent, accountable and motivated. These are things that when you’re alone, you tend to struggle with. A good teacher won’t behave like a teacher. They will be like a mother or a father. They will look out for you and be a guiding light. When you’re memorising alone, it’s easy to fall into traps. Not everyone is self-motivated enough to navigate the struggles alone. This is why the majority of us find it difficult to memorise alone.
The Qur’ān was memorised orally and then written. It’s been transferred from one heart to another. The archangel Jibrīl (peace be upon him) used to listen to the Qur’ān from the Prophet (ﷺ) himself. We have a lesson in the example of the Prophet (ﷺ).
When you memorise yourself, eventually you will need someone to help you reach the next level. You might be making mistakes you don’t even realise. You may have been doing things you weren’t aware of. A qualified teacher or reciter helps prevent this.
5. Building character
Having a teacher will also help build Adab (manners and respect), humility, love, patience, and much more. We learn a lot from how the Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) had to go Khidr (peace be upon him). A man of Allāh that possessed more insight and divinely gifted knowledge.
What to look for in a teacher
As mentioned, I have experienced pretty much everything and I can tell you: nothing beats having a quality teacher. It’s a mountain apart from doing it alone.
At minimum look for:
- someone that can speak your language
- someone that is proficient and correct in recitation and memorisation
- someone that is accessible, flexible, reliable, committed, and consistent
A teacher at the highest level will:
- have proficiency in recitation
- have command and authorisation in tajwīd
- have proficiency and authorisation in memorisation
- have great energy, enthusiasm, passion, and love for the subject and for teaching
- have enthusiasm and skills to lead and develop
- have systems and processes in place
- have knowledge of the ways to memorise and review
- be positive and creative, with a flexible approach to teaching
- be forward-thinking, inspirational, and receptive to change
- be an excellent teacher with a successful track record of impacting positively upon students
- keep human psychology, well-being, and progress in mind
- be able to respond to behaviour in a positive manner with sensitivity and resilience
I’m looking for teachers, institutions, courses, mentors, etc so that I can have them listed and available for people to browse and make it easier for people to find someone. Visit the pages and return a form with any details you want to share.
What if you can’t get a teacher?
I know that not everyone is able to get to a teacher or has access to one. At times, you might find a teacher or two but things don’t work out. In those cases, do your best to use free resources and opportunities.
- Strictly follow a schedule to memorise
- Stick to a method
- Use resources, tools, and strategies
- Use buddies or accountability partners
- Make recordings to send to others
- Have someone listen to you and keep you accountable
- Join the online communities and groups
Allāh grant blessing!