I won't be talking about motivation here but the idea of giving up. The battle against those feelings and emotions you face when you feel like giving up. Why do you want to give up your Qur'ān memorisation? Should you ever give up?
Wanting to give up on memorizing the Qur'ān is an experience that many people go through at some point in their journey. Whether it's a difficult situation, a difficult goal, or just the daily struggle, there will be times when you just want to throw in the towel.
I remember when I kept battling these thoughts and eventually I did give up. It was a challenging year. I had forgotten so much of what I had memorised and thought there was no use in memorising anymore. On top of that, my teacher never spoke to me for a whole year. I had spent years trying to memorise and didn't get very far. I began to take time off from the madrasah and find excuses not to go. Eventually, I stopped memorising with one goal in mind - that I will make a return and complete my hifz.
Giving up is not always the best option, and there are many things that you can do to help push you through tough times and keep yourself moving forward.
Revisit your purpose
Give it a real deep dive and think about how you started. A lack of motivation is often rooted in a lack of purpose, direction, and strong foundations. This is often why people feel 'stuck' and then find no motivation. Your 'why' must be strong.
Your mind feeds you ideas, not orders
Consider every thought you think about or feel as an idea, not an order. So when times are hard, you are fed with ideas of escaping the discomfort. The mind suggests that you give up and take an easier path. When times are great, it suggests that you are great and you should do more. This causes you to constantly start and stop.
If you take a moment just to deliberate, you can find even more ideas. Your thoughts might suggest that you feel good because of the good work you've done. It suggests that you're able to do this task, even when you don't feel like it. It suggests that you are capable. All of these thoughts are just ideas of the mind. They are thoughts or options. They are a result of what is going on in your world. But you have the power to choose which option to follow.
So understand that what you feel or think is not necessarily true and something that you must listen to. These ideas are not orders, but they are options. If you're hearing quit Qur'ān, it's not a command!
You have a clear enemy, build your fortress
These thoughts and ideas in your mind can be a product of constant whispers (wasswass) that come from those that desire to derail you from this task. You have a clear enemy ('aduwwun mubeen): shaytān and his accomplices. They will always come and plant ideas into your subconscious mind. These are many ideas that sit in the mind but come out in certain situations. They eventually lead you to say things like: you're not worthy, you're not good enough, you're always forgetting, there's something better to do, or you don't have a great memory.
Shaytān has a way of tricking us into a belief that we aren't good enough, we aren't worthy but in reality, he knows we are worthy which is why he never tires. He is stubborn and wants you to move away from Qur'ān. He wants to remove the good the Qur'ān has to give you. He wants only bad for you. The minute you entertain the whispering thoughts, you begin to get attracted to them. A moment of attention to them turns into moments, and those moments turn into days. Slowly, you begin to drop every good, you begin to take on the bad which is what the shaytanic algorithm wants of you. It's like social media, you give something attention with a click or a look, and the algorithm plants a seed. The algorithm will keep showing you more of the same and slowly your entire feed is full of it. Likewise, you get stuck into a cycle in life caused by the shaytanic algorithm.
If you don't drop good deeds regardless of whatever it is that is attacking you, you still have a defense, a weapon, and a means of return. Keeping up your recitation and memorisation of the Qur'ān helps build this fort of defense. But if you drop the efforts, you are exposed to further attacks.
You won't be feeling this discomfort for long
Think about time itself and how you are spending it.
Every habit you perform is over quickly. Every living breath is a moment and every moment vanishes as fast as the blink of an eye. Though the Qur'ān remains, we will certainly perish. Put life into perspective.
Memorising the Qur'ān is such a rewardable deed that gives us an opportunity to wipe away our bad. Every discomfort you feel on this path is there to test your reaction and commitment. And putting things into perspective means that you realise these discomforts are temporary. Yet the purpose behind your journey is eternal. You are seeking eternity itself. A place where there will be no discomfort. A place where you'll experience joy beyond words.
So step into this moment of discomfort and let it strengthen you.
Take a moment to be in awe of your journey however it might be. Fall in love with every moment, every lesson, every tear you've collected and placed into your heart. Say Alhamdulillāh and keep going.
Loving every moment keeps you going. Even when you forget. Even when you make those annoying mistakes. Even when you feel down. Even when you struggle to memorise a verse. Even when you can't memorise for the day. Even when you need to do revision but it feels like a chore. Even if you are in pain. Even when you are short on time. The best of the best have one thing in common: they love it. It's like oxygen. You can't breathe without it. When you're away, do you miss it? Or do you feel a sigh of relief?
Those with this great love practice more than anyone else. The Qur'ān will always be there for you.
It's a life journey that requires 'work'
This 'work' is physical, spiritual, and mental. You need a certain toughness. Think about athletes or leaders - they need to be mentally tough and they need to be consistent with it. That is what defines their success. It can mean never giving up. It can mean never missing a day. It can mean never being late. It can mean spending one hour every day. It can mean committing to the idea of constantly seeking improvement. It's about your habits.
Understand that this is a journey of a lifetime. And also understand that if motivation is your driver, discipline is your map to success. Discipline is required for seeing success. This requires that you do something even when you don't feel like it. Building habit takes discipline. If you let excuses or emotions drive you, you will be cheating yourself.
Surah al-'Asr helps us learn the tools required for discipline.
- Delay gratification. You are at a loss due to the passing of time. That means you must delay gratification and the desire to want right now, and seek things that will give you something for a sustained long-term period.
- Accept responsibility. You are responsible for how you're using your time, not anyone else. Don't shift the blame on motivation.
- Dedicate yourself. Let go of pride and ego. Let go of being isolated. Getting an outside view and being in the company of those who do good, and working together helps you grow and provides motivation.
- Balance. You need to keep yourself going and also your crowd. The crowd should remind you and you should remind them of your purpose: truth and patience.
Learn from the crowd
Listening to and reading about others that are memorising or have memorised will act as a mirror for you. Remember a believer is a mirror to another. Hifz stories have an impact. For instance:
A lady had a daily habit of reciting Qur'ān. She then started memorising Surah al-Kahf doing 3 to 4 āyāt a day. She then got herself a teacher and complete her memorisation years later. She then began teaching other elderly women. Guess what? She was 66 years old.
A woman in Turkey memorised the Qur'ān in a stable with horses as her company when it was illegal for people to recite the Qur'ān in Turkey. Elsewhere, Abu Mustapha had no electricity and used to memorise the Qur'ān under the street lights!
A sister memorised the entire Qur'ān in 9 years. But what we don't hear is that she quit 20 times during those 9 years. Despite forgetting what she'd memorised, she returned. It made her stronger. Despite the low moments, she kept going.
A sister told me that her mother completed her Hifz when she was 62 after starting at the age of 55. Another told me that her father completed his Hifz when he was 60 and it took him 15 years.
An elderly gentleman who was an electrician by trade used to listen to the Qur'ān whilst working. He would repeat every āyah and in this way he memorised.
The Quran isn't your struggle
It is your ego.
It is your mind set.
It is your procrastination and fake society-led ambitions.
It is the knowledge you neglect and the contradictions you live with.
It is the negative habits you knowingly nurture.
It's the unhealthy things you feed your ego, mind, body, and soul.
The struggle is never with our Qur'ān. It never is and never will be. It's with our own selves Fight it. In the short term, it's intense. In the long term, it's everything.
When the good in you stops, resistance against bad forces stops, you begin to fall on an individual level, and this then trickles into society.
Focus on growth. Focus on surrounding yourself with positivity. People who make you better every day.
Start within. Take one thing you do that you need to change. Take it on for 40 days, even if you need to fake it. You will find a difference.
Understand that this is a journey with no regrets
Think about how much a blessing and an honour it is that Allāh has granted you the ability not only to recite the Qur'ān but to memorise it. Think about how Allāh, the Most Loving, has given you the blessing of establishing a relationship with His Word. I always say, the honour today is not being able to recite whatever you can from memory wherever and whenever you can. Anyone can do that!
The true honour is to be able to recite, memorise, understand, love, and live the Qur'ān in an age where everyone around wants nothing to do with it. Keeping your connection alive in such an age contains many secrets. The Qur'ān is a Light and is given to whoever approaches it with a desire for it. You have been chosen to engage with the Qur'ān for a reason. Make your foundations firm in seeking its Light.
Allāh granted you time and opportunity to form a relationship with His Word, embrace it. You will see wonders. You will see tests but you'll still be on the path.
You are still a winner
If the Qur'ān spoke to you, it may say:
"I'm more beloved to Allāh than everything you know, and you're able to contain me between your shoulders."
"You're able to recite me in a beautiful way unique to you and Allāh listens to you so attentively."
"You're able to listen to me and become tranquil. Rewarded for every moment you spend with me."
"You're rewarded every time you look at me and reflect. I make note and remember you every time."
"I will remember you and help you in your hour of need. I will be your aid when you're all alone."
"Your daily efforts mean that you're being written among those given a tremendous treasure."
"I am a Light for you here and in the hereafter. I am a cure for whatever lies in your chest. I am a guiding treasure."
"My doors are open for everyone. On every page lies a solution. I'm a cure in times of tribulation. So don't give up. Keep me with you."
Many of us get consumed in our pursuit to memorise the Qur'ān, such that we become saddenned and depressed by a perceived failure, one setback after another for several years. It's part of the journey. But these struggles have a beauty to it. "The man who has nothing of the Qur'ān inside him is like a ruined house." [al-Tirmidhī]
Do you have something in your heart?
Whether or not you should give up memorising the Qur'ān is a personal decision that ultimately depends on your individual circumstances. There are several factors to consider when making this decision, including the benefits and challenges of memorizing the Quran, as well as your own personal goals and motivations.
You are impacting others
Whenever you’re memorising or reciting, there’s a purpose to it. Allāh has enabled you to do it for a reason. Sincere and righteous efforts with the Qur’ān are not only for you, but it’s also for those around you and for those to come. Everything that goes into it and every ripple effect is written in your favour.
Others will see you or hear about you and become inspired to memorise themselves (if Allāh wills such). Others will see you or hear you and become moved. Others might enter into Islām. There are consequences that can even be generational. The ripple effects are powerful. Nothing is in vain. Those of you who say, why am I wasting my time and what’s the point of this, do not realise what’s happening. Everything leaves an ‘athar’ – a trace, an impression, a ripple effect, and a consequence.
Should you give up Qur'ān memorisation?
Memorising the Qur'ān is not without its challenges. It requires a significant amount of effort and dedication, as well as a strong work ethic. Additionally, memorising the Qur'ān can sometimes be intimidating or overwhelming, especially if you are not fluent in Arabic or if you are new to Islām.
If you are considering giving up on memorising the Qur'ān, it is important to weigh the potential benefits and challenges carefully and to make a decision that is right for you.
In some cases, giving up or taking a break from memorising the Qur'ān may be the right decision. For example, health concerns: If you are an individual that is suffering from a mental or physical illness that makes it difficult or impossible for you to memorise the Qur'ān, it may be necessary to prioritize your health and well-being.
Ideally you should keep going. Nothing is impossible with Allāh. Do not be afraid of trying and continuing to try even if you can't retain things. Every action is upon its intention, you will get what you intend. If you intend for Allāh and His Messenger (ﷺ), you will get Allāh and His Messenger (ﷺ). If you intend for the Qur'ān, you will get the Qur'ān even if you don't see it realised in this world. We also read in a Hadīth from Abu Sa'īd al-Khudrī:
من قرأ القرآن ثم مات قبل أن يستظهره، أتاه ملك فعلمه في قبره فيلقى الله وقد استظهره
"Whoever recites the Qur'ān and then dies before having memorised it, an angel comes to him and teaches it in his grave, so he will meet Allāh having memorised it." (sources)
However, you can always stop memorising if need be and focus purely on creating a recitation routine and revision. This is perfectly fine.
May Allāh grant ease and blessing!4 - Like and share!