memorising quran at age 64

"Allow me to share with you a journey deeply personal, a journey that began in the year 1988, the year I, at the age of 32, found my new abode in Port Elizabeth. It was a time of new beginnings, not just in my professional life as I started my tenure at Livingstone Hospital, but also in my spiritual quest—a journey towards becoming a Hafiz of the Noble Quran. Back then, my relationship with the Quran was rudimentary at best. To illustrate, reciting Surah Yaseen, a chapter I held close, would take me upwards of an hour, a testament to my struggle with fluency.

My initial Ramadan in Port Elizabeth unveiled a practice unfamiliar to me. On nights when work did not claim my time, I found solace in attending the Esha salaah followed by Taraweeh prayers. Here, I witnessed the Imam leading all twenty rakaats single-handedly, a feat in itself, but what truly captivated me was not just his dedication but the emotion and clarity with which he recited. His recitation was unhurried, with a deliberate emphasis on certain words and verses, sometimes repeating them, at times his voice breaking with emotion. Each word resonated clearly, and yet, remarkably, the entire session concluded in just over an hour.

This experience left me in awe. The realization dawned on me that these were the words of Allah Ta’ala, spoken with such passion and importance, yet my understanding was minimal, limited to the few words and verses commonly known amongst us lay Muslims. How could it be, I pondered, that Allah Ta’ala was speaking, and I stood there, understanding not a word?

Thus was kindled my passion for the Noble Quran. In the years that ensued, I embarked on a slow but determined effort to recite when possible, following each verse with its English translation. This process, though slow and often frustrating as I would forget much of what I learned, gradually opened my eyes to the beauty and depth of the Quran in a way I had never experienced before. The words seemed to come alive, pulling me into their narrative, and compelling me to continue this journey of discovery.

The year 1995 marked a pivotal moment in my life when, at the age of 39, my family and I embarked on Hajj. It was there, in the sacred city of Makkah Mukarramah, that I found myself in the presence of Sheikh Sudais and Sheikh Shuraim, the revered Imams of the Haram Sharief. Their live recitations during the Ramadaan Taraweeh prayers were electrifying, sending shivers down my spine and filling me with an inspiration that was both profound and transformative.

Upon returning home, inspired by the celestial melodies of their recitations, I dedicated my mornings after Fajr to listening to CDs of their Taraweeh recitals, meticulously following along with the English translations. This ritual, though enriching, highlighted a longing within me, a desire to fully grasp the essence of what I heard. Despite my efforts, the vast majority of the Taraweeh recitations remained beyond my comprehension, a challenge that, rather than disheartening me, further fueled my resolve.

The quest for understanding led me to a decisive step in 2012, at 56. I embarked on a journey to learn Quranic Arabic through a self-learning course comprised of textbooks and DVDs. This course, methodically structured, not only taught me the grammar and vocabulary essential for comprehension but also engaged me in an enjoyable and enlightening way. The practice of writing out my answers, as the course demanded, was instrumental in cementing my understanding.

With newfound proficiency in Arabic, the recitation and comprehension of the Quran became not just easier but a part of me, embedded deeply through repetition and practice. It was in December 2015, nearing the age of sixty, that I felt called to undertake the Hifz, the memorization of the Quran, under the guidance of a local Aalim. This journey, which we commenced in January 2016, unfolded over four years and nine months. My teacher, understanding and patient, tailored our sessions to my pace, allowing me to absorb and memorize the verses in a manner that respected my journey and the life I had lived thus far.

My commitment to this endeavor was unwavering. Every day, whether it was a Sunday or a holiday, save for the days when illness prevailed, was dedicated to memorization. My routine began in the early hours of the morning, around 3:30 am, extending past Fajr, with additional revision between Maghrib and Esha salaah. A crucial aspect of my memorization process was understanding the meaning of each verse in English, complemented by my knowledge of Arabic, ensuring that the words I committed to memory were not just sounds but messages with profound significance.

Today, standing behind an Imam in Salaah, I find myself immersed in the recitation, understanding between 90 to 95% of what is recited. This, to me, is the culmination of my journey, a state of being where the words of Allah Ta’ala are not just heard but felt and understood, allowing for a prayer experience that is both immersive and enlightening.

In sharing my story, I hope to inspire others, regardless of age or circumstance, to embark on their journey of memorizing the Noble Quran. Even a small step taken towards understanding its meaning, with or without delving into the Arabic language, can unlock doors to a treasure beyond measure. The Quran is a guide, a reminder, a set of instructions, and good news for those who seek to understand it.

Let this be a reminder to us all, as Allah Ta’ala says in numerous verses, that the Noble Quran is there to guide, to remind, to instruct, and to bring joy to those who understand. Embrace this guidance, seek understanding, and let the words of Allah Ta’ala illuminate your path."

Lessons to learn from Dr. Ebrahim

Dr. Ebrahim Mayet's heartwarming journey to completing Hifz of the Quran at the age of 64 is nothing short of inspirational. It serves as a powerful reminder that it's never too late to chase your dreams, learn something new, or embark on a path of Quran.

Here's what we can take away from his remarkable story:

  1. It's Never Too Late: Dr. Mayet shatters the myth that age is a barrier to learning. Starting his Hifz journey in his sixties, he shows us that with enough will and passion, age becomes just a number.
  2. Stay the Course: His story is a testament to the power of consistency and dedication. Despite initial struggles and a demanding job, he made time for his passion, proving that steady, daily efforts can lead to incredible achievements.
  3. Understanding is Key: More than just memorizing words, Dr. Mayet sought to understand the Quran's deep meanings. This approach transformed his spiritual practice, reminding us that true knowledge comes from seeking to understand the heart of what we learn.
  4. Connect with Your Heart: Dr. Mayet was initially moved by the emotional depth of the Imam's recitations. His journey reminds us that learning with our hearts, not just our heads, can ignite a lifelong passion.
  5. Turn Challenges into Stepping Stones: Instead of being discouraged by difficulties, Dr. Mayet used them as a catalyst for growth. Learning Quranic Arabic to better understand the Quran, he teaches us to view obstacles as opportunities to learn and improve.
  6. The Right Support Makes a Difference: The personalized guidance from his teacher was crucial in Dr. Mayet's journey. It's a reminder that having teachers or a supportive community can provide the tailored encouragement and assistance we need to succeed.
  7. Never Stop Learning: Dr. Mayet's story embodies the spirit of lifelong learning. Even after achieving a significant milestone, he continued to deepen his understanding and practice, showing us that learning is an endless journey.
  8. Inspire Others by Sharing Your Story: By sharing his journey, Dr. Mayet not only celebrates his own accomplishments but also lights the way for others. His story is a powerful encouragement for anyone looking to make a change, pursue knowledge, or deepen their spiritual life.

His journey is a call to all of us to never give up on our dreams, no matter where we are in life's journey.

May Allāh grant blessing!

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