You Should Not Memorize The Qur’an

How do you deal with such a comment: “You should not memorise the Qur’ān!”

Believe it or not, there were two people who said this to me over a decade ago. I was around 14 or 15 when a respected and well-known Imām in Manchester (UK) said, “There’s no point in doing Hifz. Especially anyone born and living here (UK).” The reasonable man would be shocked at such revelations, so my father asked him why. His response: “You should not memorise because in the UK anyone who memorises forgets it.” His reasons were to do with those who memorise and then get busy with life’s many pursuits and end up forgetting it. His reasons were in my opinion at the time lackluster, emotional, and egoistical.

On another occasion when I was 16-17. At this point, I had memorised half of the Qur’ān part-time. I decided to take a break to concentrate on my college A-Level exams. I did not memorise for a whole year and found it difficult to revise. I forgot almost half of it. So I decided to leave the country for a while on a gap year. I’d come back again next summer Autumn to start University. So I ended up going to Egypt to restart and finish my memorisation. You can read about this journey in more detail if you like in “The Promise of Ten”.

During these two years and the year before it, I had so many instances where I wanted to give up. I had so much self-doubt and fear of failure in my task. The teacher I had at the time did not help. He would be strict, harsh, and forceful – to the point that he would not even talk to you. This individual took it upon himself to say “Mubashir will never memorise the Qur’ān. He will fail!” when he heard I had left for Cairo. I to this day do not know the truth of this statement because for me it is hearsay. I found out in Cairo over the phone with my father. I understood it to be emotional and possible for him to have said those words.

What did I do? I simply carried on.

What people do not realise is what many people go through in order complete memorisation. I wanted to write this in case there are others going through the same kind of treatment or thoughts. Here’s what I did and some advice for you.

Dealing with the bad fellas, the bad times, the self-doubts, and the fears

1. Talk to others about it

Remind yourself that you’re feeling what most other people experience. Self-doubt and fear are normal feelings. It will happen, but it should make you stronger. When I felt like that, I recognised this fact and made sure it didn’t play a big factor in my memorisation. Once I recognised this I mentioned how I felt to others close to me – they’ll give you a much-needed boost.

2. Embrace fear

For me, fear itself became the indicator of the things I need to and must do – and that have had the greatest results. By doing so you will see your confidence grow. Think about the times when you have had to make a call you were most scared of. It doesn’t matter what happens, but you will walk away inspired. It is far better done than spoken. Do not be afraid of not being able to memorise or not being able to do as you wanted. The pathways are always created for you and Allāh is the best of planners.

3. Go beyond your comfort zones

Successful Huffādh don’t seek comfort; they seek success and are willing to do what is most uncomfortable. Most of the world today seek comforts and familiarities: traps that cause you to settle for the mediocre. If you want to get to the next level, you’ve got to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

4. Ask yourself: Are my goals sincere and true? Am I focused?

We do everything for a reason. Our goals are what drive us. If it’s something you know you have to do or want to do so much, then that’s one aspect of doubt you can put to rest. If not, you have some more thinking to do. Your memorisation is for your hereafter. It is for Allāh and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him, his family, his companions and those who followed). Remind yourself of this fact. Remain focused.

5. Learn from others

When I heard such comments it didn’t affect me. It was the bad days that got to me instead. They put me in self-doubt and made me think that it wasn’t for me. The way I dealt with this was to reflect on other people who had memorised the Qur’ān. I’d soon discover that the visually, audibly, and mentally impaired had memorised the Qur’ān. How could I even think about stopping?

6. Remind yourself about the real enemy

The key reminder for is that Shaytān and his minions are always around. Attempting to lure you away from recitation and memorisation. It’s the last thing they want – your attachment to the Qur’ān. Realisation of this only made me stronger in my pursuits. The solution is only one: be consistent and be consistent in seeking divine help.

7. Bad days will come, turn them into realisations

You must realise you’re going to have bad times. You’re going to find pain. You’re going to have to climb and you’re going to make sacrifices. How you deal with it depends a great deal on how you’re wired. It’s personal. Some prefer the pain and love to make the climb, others don’t. Setbacks can be exciting but not for everyone. Once they begin to affect life around you, it becomes a real struggle. Everyone has to deal with it.

As I mentioned before, I had bad days. Days where I couldn’t memorise, days where I kept on forgetting something, and days where I couldn’t pull myself to read. Here’s how I dealt with it:

  • I acknowledged a bad day and got ready to change it.
  • I accepted it, and calmed down through remembrance and reflection. Took a break by doing something else like playing or going for a walk.
  • I would then review what went wrong the next day, and change it around by filling in the hole.
  • Remember point 6.

8. A call to patience

Do not try to rush things. Do not drop at the sight of any slip-ups.

“And We will most certainly test you somewhat by means of fear and hunger and certain loss of wealth and lives and fruits. And, (O Beloved,) give glad tidings to those who observe patience.”

Surah al-Baqarah, v.155

9. You are not chasing numbers, you are chasing quality

The last thing I did was remember that what was most important to me was quality time – not the quantity of time. What that means is that I’ve always been a perfectionist. I do think though when it comes to memorisation of the Qur’ān you have no other choice but to chase perfection. It is the words of Allāh that you are attempting to internalise.

Recognising this made making sacrifices much easier. During high school and college, I didn’t go hang out with friends or take part in extra things after school/college. I would go straight home and then straight to getting ready. I would shorten my sleep get up and learn (best time by the way). All these things and more is what counts. The Deen calls to Ihsān, spiritual excellence, which should part of our daily lives. When people see amazing athletes, they forget that they practice 8 hours or more on a daily basis to be the best.

How much time are you prepared to do the best you can memorising the Qur’an?

“Make time for the Prayer, and the Prayer will make time for you.” – Abdal-Hakim Murād

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