“Become a millionaire!”
Many of us when setting out in the noble pursuit of memorising the Qur’ān think deeply about the ‘why.’ I have explored this previously. I always ask those memorising to tell me why they want to memorise but they often struggle to answer. The younger they are the more they struggle. I will share one such experience with a young student who recently started memorising the Qur’ān.
Meeting a young beginner
So, I began by asking her why is it that she is memorising the Qur’ān. She remained silent for a while. Moments later, she finds an answer saying she is memorising so that she could benefit others, grow up and teach Qur’ān, or maybe if there’s an issue she could go ahead in the pursuit of helping because she knows more of the Qur’ān. It appeared as though she was searching for answers that I would approve of. I told her it was a good response and not the usual answer I hear from a young person. Usually, it is because my parents told me to. Her case was different. I then explained a few reasons why she needs to get specific about her why. I encouraged her with various ahādīth and explained that you are trying to do this for yourself — for your spiritual benefit in this world and the next. It extends beyond this world. The reason why I am sharing this today is that this conversation prompted a whole new perspective to the ‘why’ of memorising the Qur’ān. It often happens, when we are teaching, we get inspired and find ourselves explaining something from a new perspective.
I wanted to share this with you with the intent that perhaps you might also share this perspective with others, especially our children as a means of motivation.
What is it all about?
Growing your spiritual bank account!
Our scholars throughout time have spoken about Salāh (namāz / prayer) as being a spiritual and transformative experience for the believer, a mi’rāj, an ascension of the believer. This is also a statement often attributed to the Holy Prophet (ﷺ). Al-Naysaburi mentions it in his Tafsīr, Imām as-Suyūtī in a commentary of Sunan Ibn Mājah, and many scholars have mentioned it like Ibn Ajibah and Alūsī, etc. Scholars have even written in detail on the philosophy of ascension (mi’rāj) in regards to daily prayers. What every position means, what everything we say connects to, and so on. Our prayer holds significance beyond movement and words. It’s an experience.
For those memorising the Qur’ān — this gives birth to deeper reasons as to why we should memorise. The prayer is an immense gift to the believers, and reciting the Qur’ān is a major part of it. It’s the part of the prayer when we begin addressing Allāh. We enter Divine Communication starting with the Divine Words: “The ultimate praise (and gratitude) belongs to the Master of all nations.” You are communication gratitude, O Lord, O Beautiful, all beauty is Yours, all creation is Yours, all Praise if Yours. You are Everything. You are the Carer and Lover. You are extremely loving and caring. Ever-Merciful. Conversations begin. Then when you move on to another chapter, you begin to move into other layers of conversation. In this way, knowing more of the Qur’ān can become a means of raising us in attaining and ascension towards Allāh. You will want to have a different conversation every time or a different dimension every time you enter the state of prayer. This offers us a chance to experience more in the prayer during standing.
Explaining this to a young person: you can become a billionaire!
When I was speaking to the young girl, I asked her to imagine the salāh to be like a bank account. It’s your bank account and you are responsible for it. Bank accounts will vary from person to person. Some won’t even have a bank account but might have a place where they save money. Some accounts will be in the negative (reserves or overdrafts), some will be very low in number, some will be constantly growing and shrinking, and some will be growing and growing.
This is like our relationship with the Qur’ān. A large group of people will only know Surah al-Fātiḥah and Surah al-Ikhlās. Others will know a few more chapters, and so on. Can you imagine living a life where you are praying the same chapters every day in every unit of prayer? For instance, you keep reciting Surah al-Ikhlās on and on again in every salāh? Can you imagine doing that despite having memorised large portions of the Qur’ān? Think about what could be possible if you can increase what you knew. Your bank account would grow. You will become rich. How is that?
Large bank accounts or large amounts of cash can buy us experiences — you are able to get what you want. Small bank accounts force you to struggle and buy experiences in other ways. In the same way, imagine your spiritual bank account becomes bigger. The bank account of your prayers. You can memorise the entire Qur’ān and become a millionaire. You have memorised 6,236 verses compared to just 10 verses. From a millionaire, you can then become a billionaire, and then reach beyond that. The difference between a millionaire and a billionaire is huge. It’s often likened to the difference between 11 days (1 million seconds) and 31 years (1 billion seconds). Your salāh would now become equipped to buy experiences. To buy things you couldn’t buy before. To experience things you couldn’t.
I am not talking about the rewards (ḥasanāt) account. This kind of wealth is not necessarily ‘seen’ in the world but can be, and you can experience it. In shā’ Allāh, you will be able to see the rewards when your life continues in heaven. I am talking about a living spiritual account that you can tap into today. Do you want that kind of account? Do you want to become rich? I asked the young girl and, of course, she said, “yes!”
I explained further…
When a person is rich and has a large bank account to go with it, they have a responsibility. They face a test. A millionaire has choices: (1) become stingy and spend frugally; (2) waste all the money lavishly; (3) keep the balance intact; or (4) invest wisely and grow the account further, and (5) become generous, give back and create a positive impact. These things aren’t restricted to the one who faces the opposite lifestyle — they too have to make choices in life.
Similarly, when memorising the Qur’ān, the more you know, the more responsibility you have and the more choices you have. Your bank account should be used and spent wisely to create growth and impact. It should not be left alone. It should not become something that’s always counted and admired. It needs to be experienced. So when your spiritual bank account is growing, you need to use it in your prayers. This is one of the reasons you are memorising. You must use it. You are responsible to keep hold of it. You are in charge of this bank account. Though some choose to be stingy and only recite a few small chapters all the time. Some recite only once a year.
The Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) said, “Whoever does not have within his heart something from the Qur’ān is like the ruined house.’’ [at-Tirmidhī]. When your spiritual bank account is in bad shape, your house is in bad shape. When the light of Qur’ān begins to enter it, it begins to breathe life into the house. All of a sudden, it’s walls are straightened. Its floors are cleaned. It’s rooms expanding and full of lights. There are signs of life. Your spiritual heart becomes rejuvenated. As your bank account increases, you could move house. You could move from a small one to a bigger one and eventually moving to a mansion. You now have so many rooms to visit. You may even have a number of houses that you can visit. One day you may choose to join the prophet Mūsā (peace be upon him) on the mount of Sinai and on another day you join lady Maryam (peace be upon her) and her son, prophet ‘Īsā (peace be upon him). Another day you may join the young people of the cave and on another day you join the dwellers of paradise. Every day you join Allāh and His Messenger[s] (peace and blessings be upon him and them all).
The following ḥadīth shows us the importance of this and the role it plays in keeping what we have memorised:
عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ . بِمَعْنَى حَدِيثِ مَالِكٍ وَزَادَ فِي حَدِيثِ مُوسَى بْنِ عُقْبَةَ “وَإِذَا قَامَ صَاحِبُ الْقُرْآنِ فَقَرَأَهُ بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ ذَكَرَهُ وَإِذَا لَمْ يَقُمْ بِهِ نَسِيَهُ”
This ḥadīth has been narrated by Ibn ‘Umar from the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ), (but in the ḥadīth transmitted by Mūsā b. ‘Uqba, this addition is made to the ḥadīth about the parable): “When the companion of the Qur’ān (the one who has memorised it and remains committed) stands up (for night prayer) and recites it night and day, it remains fresh in his mind, but if he does not get up (to recite in his prayers and maintain his struggle) he forgets it.” [Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim]
What then is preventing you from reciting more in your prayers? The more you memorise the more you experience. You can even reach billionaire levels and beyond when you begin to truly understand what you are reciting. And experience having amazing conversations with the One who cares and loves you.
So the next time you stand for prayer remember one of the ways of our communication with Allāh is through His Divine Words. Experience!
Tell your child, and remind those memorising. Tell them this as a reason to be memorising more. This reason alone is powerful. It also reminds us that this is a life long journey and to never feel as though you need to be memorising everything as fast as possible. You can do this and so many before you have done.
Allāh accept our prayers and open the doors of facilitation.