There are a number of challenges that one can face while memorising the Qur’ān in a way that is secretive. Perhaps, you’re memorising the Qur’ān but you’ve decided not to tell your husband, your wife, your parents, or family. Are you memorising the Qur’an and have decided not to tell anyone else? Are you scared of family knowing? Are you scared of your own ego?
Why would you choose to not tell anyone that you’re doing Hifz?
I have had two students that started the journey of hifdh but decided not to tell anyone. The reasons may be many but the base of it all is rooted in one being fearful of their intentions changing. A fear of being questioned. A fear of being compared. A fear of being put on a pedestal. A fear of increasing stress or a fear of rejection. Perhaps you come from a family that isn’t attached to Deen and you feel like the odd one out. Memorising the Qur’ān in that environment makes you feel like you have no support and makes you feel like you will be ridiculed.
These fears give rise to many other fears to an extent where it might even drift one further away from the Qur’ān and the fear definitely takes on different forms over time.
Others want to keep it a secret because they feel that it’s between them and Allāh. Others say they want to keep it a secret because they don’t want to become insincere at heart, or that they want success through keeping it a secret. The idea that keeping it a secret would veil them from the eyes of jealousy, the eyes of hatred, or the eyes of an enemy.
Many of these reasons are personal choices while others are due to personal circumstances or environments.
Are they right or wrong? It depends.
If you claim that you shouldn’t tell anyone though, that’s wrong.
You can always inform others of the blessing that Allāh has granted you so long as it is rooted in good intention. It wasn’t uncommon to find the companions (may Allāh be pleased with them) to mention their achievements.
In Sunan an-Nisā’ī, it’s narrated that Abu Wā’il said: “Ibn Mas’ūd addressed us and said: ‘How do you want me to recite? According to the recitation of Zayd bin Thābit, when I learned seventy-odd Surahs from the mouth of the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) while Zayd was with the other boys with two braids?'” 
And it was narrated from Muhammad bin ‘Abdur-Rahmān that: The daughter of Hārithah bin An-Nu’mān said: “I memorised ‘Qaf. By the Glorious Qur’ān,'” from the mouth of the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) when he was on the minbar on Friday.” (Also in Sunan an-Nisā’ī)
In at-Tirmidhī, as narrated Abu Hurayrah: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) sent an expedition force [comprised] of many, and he asked each what he could recite, so each one of them mentioned what he could recite – meaning what he had memorised of the Qur’ān. He came to one of the youngest men among them and said: ‘What have you memorised O so-and-so?’ He said: ‘I memorised this and that and Surat Al-Baqarah.’ He said: ‘You memorised Surat Al-Baqarah?’ He said: “Yes.’ He said: “Then go, for you are their commander.’ A man among their chief said: ‘By Allāh [O Messenger of Allāh]! Nothing prevented me from learning Surat Al-Baqarah except fearing that I would not be able to stand with (in voluntary night prayer).’ The Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) said: ‘Learn the Qur’ān to recite it, for indeed the parable of the Qur’ān for the one who recites it and stands with it (in prayer) is that of a bag full of musk whose scent fills the air all around. And the parable of the one who learns it then sleeps while it is in his memory is that of a bag containing musk that is tied shut.'”
In Sahīh Muslim, Qutaybah bin Sa’īd narrated to us, Jarīr narrated to us, on authority of Mughīrah, on authority of Ibrāhīm [bin Yazīd an-Nakhā’ī], he said, Alqamah said: ‘I memorised the Qur’ān in two years’…
Some of us are well intended but concealing your attempts to memorise the Qur’ān can cause all sorts of unnecessary challenges. My intention today is to mention these challenges and give you food for thought about trying to make changes if you’re serious of your journey.
A living example of developing fears
I know a student that is memorising the Qur’ān in an environment where only the mother is aware that she is memorising the Qur’ān. I know another that is memorising the Qur’ān but his family is unaware. I know others that are memorising and they can’t tell their families.
One case in particular, prompted me to share my thoughts today.
This student carries a strong fear that their father will come to know that they are memorising the Qur’ān. The fear is rooted in a concern that the father will disapprove of it and tell them to stop. And instead, tell them to focus on secular education and make a career for themselves. That memorising the Qur’ān is of no use.
What does this result in?
It results in the student constantly tracking the father, and making use of the times when their father is either outside or is asleep. Questions keep ringing in the mind – what if he finds out, what if he is awake, what if he is standing there listening and most importantly, how would he react if he comes to know. All of these become cues for mental drain and leave no space for one’s Qur’ān. You end up getting nothing done.
Things get even more challenging when one faces a change of place and a change of an environment. Let’s say you were born and raised in another country for ‘x’ number of years, and later had to make a move to another country but the father is still employed in that country. And it was during this time that you started memorising the Qur’ān when your father was away. Eventually, your father also moves in and the you lost your flow with your Qur’ān. All of a sudden you are just not able to do whatever it is that you once were able to because now it’s not just about your memorisation but now it’s also about your fears being involved and all of it coming down to your declining mental health.
When on one hand you are still taking your time to open your eyes to the reality, now you are also dealing with the fears that seem to never end the likes of which cannot be put into words – the fears of being told off for memorising the Qur’ān, the fear of being found memorising the Qur’ān and the fear of being found listening to the Qur’ān.
Another example is a student who is memorising without telling anyone in the family but his efforts are constantly interrupted. Whenever he is called by the family, he will attend to it. Be it chores, events, travels, or daily tasks. This can mean that weeks can go by where he’s not memorising simply because he can’t mention that he is memorising.
In the words of the one memorising the Qur’ān in secret
Ibn al Qayyim said “The heart is like a bird: love as its head and its two wings are hope and fear.”
The love for Allāh out of which you are memorising the Qur’ān (due to which you are also fearful of your intention changing) and also then the love for your father out of which you are fearful of his reaction upon finding out about your memorisation. But also hoping a reward from Allāh because nothing of this world’s treasures are greater than the treasures that Allāh has reserved for the one who trusts upon Him and observes patience to whatever extent that Allāh has enabled them. The treasure that no eye has seen, no one has ever imagined and the likes of which cannot be found in this temporary world.
There are going to be times when you feel that these fears are never ending (and so is the reward that you are collecting for undergoing such an experience while you are still memorising). The Angels lower their wings for you and let you experience tranquility while you are in the state of reciting the Qur’ān and collecting rewards (Hasanāt) for every letter that you recite. The final reward is with Allāh. The Angels are witnessing you recite the Qur’ān, memorise the Qur’ān, struggle with keeping up with it’s review on the days when you are facing trauma in your world, spending sleep less nights with it, navigating the mental turbulence this world has to give you by having the Qur’ān by your side as your companion – You will find Allāh protecting you.
You will find Allāh making out ways for you from where you couldn’t have imagined ever. You will find Allāh, His Speech and the Angels accompanying you, guarding you just the way you have taken efforts to guard His Speech in your heart and you will realise how the Qur’ān takes these fears away (maybe not suddenly, but one fine day).
Your anxieties, fears and worries won’t be an issue any longer now because you now have the Doctor King looking after everything and you are mindful of it. Because YOU were chosen by the Most Merciful of those who show Mercy. You are on your way of proving that you are worthy of the Qur’ān. You weren’t chosen for no reason – Your chance is NOW.
Whatever it takes.
The lessons from not speaking out
You can see that the trade off can be big. Because you never told anyone, you’re having to navigate between other people, tasks, things and environments.
What would happen if you told someone that’s important to you?
It may result in them finally being aware that you’re busy at certain times in the day and they won’t bother you. It may result in you finally being consistent. It may result in prayers of others in your favour. It may result in everything that’s the opposite of your fears.
Do you fear Allāh or do you fear your circumstances?
Not mentioning your actions can have a clear negative impact on your journey but it’s one for you to decide personally.
Whatever you decide, I pray that Allāh grants you ease, His Help, His Gaze, and His Openings to facilitate your success here and hereafter.
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