23 Jun Naseeha for the Hifdh Journey: between retention & reflection
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullah
Q: While memorizing, one keeps up with review. However, in the course of review and new hifdh, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to ponder over the ayaat and soak them in, especially if one is going at an increased rate of new hifdh…in the course of that, I feel like I have less time for reflecting, pondering, and your most recent post makes me feel bad, in that I do feel I am rushing to finish a juz when I’m reviewing and not really reflecting and pondering over the ayaat. I feel like it’s a never ending cycle. I’ve talked to a sister and she said that there are stages and that this is the basic stage and so sometimes the focus have to be just on drilling and that later on, that other stage of being able to recall and recite from memory with reflection will come inshaaAllah…What do you advise? How do we balance between focusing on drilling and reflecting on the Quran and not rushing in revising (especially revising)? Jazakillah khair. [Umm Hamzah]
A: Alhumdulillah, at the outset I must thank you for this important question: it reflects the reality & concerns of many aspiring haafidhaat.
Yes, I agree with the stages that the sister mentioned. I do however, understand the predicament that a Qur’aan bearer may find herself in, in trying to maintain balance & focus on retention & reflection. After all, we would love to embrace all the sacred dimensions of the Hifdh Journey, not only rote memorisation, as together they form a powerful combination of renewed commitment to Hifdh. Having said that, I’ve compiled a list of factors that you may consider incorporating into your hifdh routine for this Ramadhan & beyond:
* Consider pressing the ‘pause’ button on new hifdh lessons upon the completion of half or 1 juz (for 2 – 5 day) : Take time out to reflect on the verses, strengthen ones understanding of Qur’aanic (Arabic) vocabulary or appreciate the reasons for revelation. In the process, you may find hifdh completion extended by a few months / 1 year, but the benefits far outweigh the perceived loss of time.
* During Haidh / Nifaas use the prayer times to better connect to the verses you’ve memorised. I’ve always maintained that if we use these no-prayer days each month to better understand our hifdh, we will find memorisation becoming easier & the journey more spiritually fulfilling. Try it out, and rest assured, you will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome!
* Audio review (listening) should form a regular component of your daily review program. There are some effective Arabic-English Qur’aan productions available for download: I find them practical to incorporate whilst seeing to house chores or spring-cleaning, for example. Listening to the aayaat helps strengthen our hifdh and tajweed, whilst the English translation helps improve our state of reflection.
* Involve your family in your Hifdh Journey: set aside short intervals of time during which as a family, you can journey through the most commonly recited (or family favourites?) suwar & embrace Qur’aanic wisdom and beauty together. Precious memories & wonderful investment for your Hereafter!
* Consider arranging private tutoring for a Qur’aan-related class at home or online: Arabic grammar, fiqh, tafseer, etc., on a weekly or bi-monthly basis. This will help tremendously!
* Review your time management: is it possible to fit in just 10 extra minutes of serene solitude each day – daybreak is my personal favourite! – reflect on the aayaat memorised the previous day? Whilst 10 minutes may not appear to be a significant amount of time to value the treasures of Qur’aan, it is a start. And it certainly goes a long way in preventing a Qur’aan bearer from feeling disappointed or disillusioned along the way.
* Get involved in online projects: one that has been gaining momentum is the 19 Ayat A Day. Read more about it at: https://www.facebook.com/19ADay/info
I believe this can be applied on a smaller scale and made relevant to your specific hifdh quantity, too.
* If you enjoy writing or journaling (like I do!), then maintaining a daily / weekly hifdh reflections journals can do wonders to strike the balance. Merge memorisation, retention and recollection with reflection. As time permits, jot down your reflections, your musings.
* ‘Motivational Mechanism’: Retrace what inspired you to embark on your special Hifdh Journey. Find your motivational mechanism, your inner catalyst. I am certain that insight gleamed into verses played a major role, too. How can you reconcile that initial motivation with fulfilling the current needs of your soul: to understand, reflect and enjoy the verses you are preserving in your heart? Hmmm….
For the most part, there is no perfect combination or precise balancing act. For the seeker of knowledge, remembering that Allah gives us what we NEED and not what we WANT is a comforting reminder that His Divine Plan entails each seeking, sincere servant to receive the spiritual food to nurture his / her soul. Allahu Akbar!
PS: Entering ‘Naseeha” on the Fee Qalbee search blog will yield answers to many more of your hifdh questions. Try it today!