12 May STRIVING TO INSPIRE WRITING COMPETITION: ENTRY 102
As I sobbed, I knew that my best friend could hear me. He was always there for me, to comfort me, but also the One who brought me to these tears; to the realization that I was nothing without Him. I longed for an understanding of what I was supposed to accomplish in my life. What was the reason for my being? How could I find my way through this maze called life while I was still only 11 years old, knowing that a vast ocean of temptation lay before me? As my tears soaked into the flowery, cotton pillowcase, my eyes felt heavy and I fell into a sweet slumber.
I dreamt of a prison cell. In it, alone, holding her Qur’an, was a beautiful young lady. She seemed to be at peace, reciting, until the prison bars were opened and she was called out. As she walked past the bars, she approached a bright, white, peaceful light. When I awoke, my heart was filled with joy for I knew that the answer to my prayers was the Qur’an. I would fall into a trance every time I heard the beautiful recitation of Qari Abdul Basit Abdus Samad, a blind hafidh, who recited with the aid of his braille Qur’an. But hifdh seemed to me to be the kind of thing you only hear a few people really do from the millions in this world, and I knew of no such people myself. So I immersed myself in recitation, tajweed and pondering over the English translation of the beautiful holy words.
Just last year, while I was busy networking on a project to promote Muslim unity, I met a wonderful group called Muslim Youth Organization. I discovered that the Jama Masjid in Orlando, FL. holds hifdh classes and that most of the board at MYO had been through at least part of the hifdh program. I was in awe of these young leaders, who not only committed their time to work in the way of Allah, but who also dedicated hours on end to memorizing His word. Finally, I had found a testament to the fact that hifdh was not just a dream, but that it could actually be a reality. I had a million and one questions for my new friends. I clung to every piece of advice they had for me, as I yearned to become a hafidha myself. They shared sites with me that helped them with their hifdh. They encouraged me to embark upon it and told me that the worst that could happen in any case would be that I would have learned even a small portion of the Holy Qur’an, which in itself would be an achievement. They reminded me that Allah has promised us in Sura 54, Ayah 17: ‘And in truth We have made the Qur’an easy to remember; but is there any that remembereth ?’ This verse brought tears to my eyes. My heart overflowed with longing to become a hifdha, and I decided it was time.
Alhamdulil-Lah, I was blessed with the opportunity right away to learn with a hafidh who would come home 4 hours, 4 days a week. It was intense. But I was soaking it all in as fast as I could. Knowing some Arabic really helped with memorization. I loved how my teacher would focus on tajweed and help me with my memorization by giving me hadeeth on the ayahs I was learning, to help me better picture the transition from verse to verse. I was now able to quote a few ayahs from the Qur’an on topics I had covered in the ajzaa that I had completed. I began a blog on hifdh to document what I had learned every week and also formed a ‘Hifdh Helpers’ Group on facebook. I shared my experiences with other students and got ideas and tips from them on how to deal with mental blocks and frustrations.
Unfortunately, my hifdh teacher was not able to make it to teach me consistently and my hifdh began to get rusty. As I continued toward the end of the second Juz I worried if I could even remember the first. I was worried if I could do this at all! Why was my memory so bad? I begged Allah for relief and guidance. It was when I had just finished my Dhohr salaat one afternoon after praying for a solution, that one of my new hifdh mentors who was also a hifdh teacher and knew the predicament I was in, called and said that he would be willing to teach me virtually. I was overjoyed and fell into a sajdah of shukhr. Ever since that day, he has been the most patient teacher I could have ever wished for. His method of teaching me new lessons and reviewing methodically has made me more confident in my ability to remember verses from any juz in the Qur’an that I have already memorized.
Hifdhul Qur’an has been the most rewarding feeling ever. I have had many moments where I’ve been down, and thinking of the new lessons I’ve learned from the Qur’an just cheers me up. I’ve learned that hifdh is not impossible, like I used to think. Just like with salaat or any other good deed Shaytan tries to make hifdh a challenge as well, but with Allah’s help you can surmount your expectations. Hifdh has become a new focus in my life, that gives me a deeper and more meaningful purpose. It helps me get back on track when I am swaying off and brings me to tears with the insight and beauty of the our Lord’s message, while giving me the strength to try and stay firm on the path of taqwa which I dearly long for. May Allah grant us all the hidayah to stay on the righteous path and to light up our hearts and our lives through the Holy Qur’an; Ameen.
I am lucky to be married to the man of my dreams and to be the blessed mom of 3 lovely children ages 14, 11 and 5. I received my degree in Secondary Education and a minor in Biology from the University of Central Florida. I homeschool my 5th and 8th graders and was very excited to start hifdh with them this year. I am also the co-founder and executive director of United Muslim Foundation, which serves to promote unity, education and charity. Life sure is busy, but every moment is cherished <3