Every human being is unique.
What a precious gift of Allah this uniqueness is!
It enables each one of us to use our exclusive set of talents and abilities, to acquire our own little pool of knowledge, through our own distinct style of learning, and to weave our own “one-of-a-kind yarn” in life.
Almost all Muslims approach Allah’s Book, the Glorious Qur’an, in their own particular way, out of love, faith, and devotion, but – based on their individual human uniqueness,- the Qur’an has different effects on different people, too.
Take the companions of the Prophet (PBUH), for example. Every one of them excelled, grew and flowered in their own unique way after reverting to Islam as their Deen, and taking the Qur’an as their Book of guidance in life. The Qur’an brought out the inherent good in them in different ways.
As parents of young ones, we need to realize that what we are sowing today, we shall reap tomorrow.
You might wonder, how do we apply this ‘reap-what-you-sow’ philosophy to the way our family connects to the Qur’an?
I think it is not enough to teach a child just how to read the Arabic script of the Quran, by availing classes given by a third person. Apparently, though, in South Asia, most Muslim parents seem to believe that once they have fulfilled this duty regarding their children, their job in ‘connecting their child’ to the Qur’an is done.
Is a Muslim parent’s duty of connecting their child to Allah through the Quran, really accomplished by hiring a qualified reciter of the Qur’an (Qari) to teach their child how to read the Qur’an’s Arabic script, by taking them through it once, twice or thrice, and then leaving it (and their relationship with this Glorious Book) “shelved” thereafter, or at least until a major calamity befalls?
For most Muslim parents, yes, that truly might be “it”.
But is it for you?
And for me?
What is a “Vision”?
Well, to define the very word itself, a “vision” is simply “what you see”. It is the fantastical, self-projected “picture” that comes to your mind when you imagine a particular scenario regarding the future.
Companies, organizations, political movements, all have “visions”. Their vision describes, in a few sentences, what they “see” themselves achieving in the future.
Take a Look at the Muslim Adults Around You
In order to define the “Quran vision” for yourself and your family (spouse and children), first you need to put two and two together.
By that, I mean that you need to realize and accept that the adults walking around you today (you, too, included) are, in fact, the little children of the past (who were naughtily scurrying around, playing, giggling, and just being kids 20,30, or 40+ years ago).
You have to admit and acknowledge that what your children do, learn and practice today, will affect and determine what kind of adults they will be a few decades down the road, insha’Allah, by the will and decree of Allah.
Now, leaving out the imams (religious leaders), khateebs (sermon-givers) and qari’s(qualified reciters) for the moment, please take an objective look at yourself, and all the adults around you: your spouse, parents, siblings, parents-in-law, siblings-in-law (and their other halves), your office colleagues, and your cousins. Anyone above age 20, in fact.
Now try to see what their connection with the Qur’an is like.
And then try to imagine or reflect upon what that connection would have been like had their parents adopted a different approach towards their Qur’an education/learning during their childhood.
Be Specific in Pinpointing the Details of the “Qur’an Vision” of Your Family
There are many preliminary, basic, superlative and advanced levels of connecting with Allah through His Glorious Book, the Qur’an.
You need to decide which one is the vision for yourself and your children. The vision might also vary for each child, depending on his or her unique set of talents and abilities (recall the human uniqueness I mentioned at the start?).
Please keep in mind that I am well aware that despite a parent’s best efforts, nothing can happen except by Allah’s will.
And I also admit that many a time, parents’ efforts in making their child achieve a certain level in a particular field of knowledge fails. For the better, of course. Allah always decides for the better.
However, defining a vision is still a must, in order for us, as parents, to plan our children’s journey with the Qur’an beforehand, and not undermine the level of connection they can achieve with Allah through His Book.
Here are the scenarios I came up with when racking my brain for all the possible ways my adult children could be connecting with the Qur’an in the future, depending on how I undertake their Qur’an education right now, during their childhood years (admittedly, a couple of the points below made me shudder with apprehension):
1- Reading the Qur’an’s Arabic script silently, the way Urdu is read, without scrupulously adhering to each and every one of thetajweedrules. Never reciting the Quran aloud, ever.
2- Reading a fixed portion of the Qur’an daily, at a fixed time, without reflecting- with the intention of attainingbarakah(blessings) and peace in the home, job/business (provision) and family, and for preventing calamities, illnesses and grief from befalling/adversely affecting the same.
3- Relating any and all current affairs and events witnessed in life (on a personal, communal or global level) to verses of the Qur’an.
4- Studyingtajweed, translation and the detailedtafsir of the whole Qur’an thoroughly, via a course at an Islamic institute, under a teacher, at least once.
5- Being able to understand the Arabic of the Qur’an directly, without needing a translation.
6- Having listened to the recitation of most of the qualified reciters in their era, and having a favorite one, whose recitation touches and moves the heart the most.
7- Being moved to such an extent while listening to the recitation of the Qur’an, in seclusion, that their soul is shaken, their heart trembles, and their eyes begin to weep hot, heavy tears that lead to sobbing and prostration (sujood) upon the ground.
8- Teaching the Qur’an to others part-time or full-time, as ada’eeor Islamic scholar.
9- Turning to the Qur’an to seek the solution to every problem; guidance in every matter relating to practical life; and answers to every doubt and question.
10- Accepting every command in the Qur’an as the final authoritative decree that decides every matter, whether one likes it or not, and which must be obeyed, no matter how illogical or difficult it seems.
11- Not being able to spend more than a day or two away from the Qur’an without feeling the heart becoming dead and rusted.
12- Going through life as an ardent student of the Qur’an. Always jumping at the opportunity to attend a talk, class, seminar, or workshop by a learned Islamic scholar who teaches, or has taught, the Qur’an.
13- Having special “endearing” aspects of specificsurah’s(chapters) of the Qur’an, which make them look forward to reciting that surah again and again.
14- Having memorized the whole of the Qur’an because of being coerced to do so by their parents; struggling to maintain their memorization intact, reluctantly. Considering it an unasked-for burden that was placed on their shoulders, which they are unable to carry (*shudder*). [FYI: I didn’t just make this up. The wife of ahafidhonce confessed to me that her husband feels this way now, as an adult.]
15- Having only some shortsurah’sof the Qur’an committed to memory, enough to perform salah (daily prayers), without any desire or motivation to memorize more of the Qur’an.
16- Not wanting to listen to the recitation of the Qur’an while alone, or in a congregation. Preferring to listen to music and songs sung by pop/classical/hard rock singers instead.
17- Having doubts about the authenticity of the Qur’an. Wondering if some of it was ever changed over the years, just like the Bible?
18- Having successfully acquired accredited-university Bachelors, Masters, and/or PhD degrees in one of the branches of the sciences of the Qur’an (tajweed, jurisprudence,tafsir, linguistics et al.), by studying under several rightly-guided Islamic scholars of the era, writing and submitting a thesis, and going on to serve Islam through leading prayers at amasjid, teaching Islamic courses, writing books, and/or giving lectures around the world.
Depending on what your vision is for yourself and/or your family, especially your little children (if they are still young), you will steer the course of your parenting life in a manner that will depict the intentions, efforts and practical steps needed to achieve that vision using goals, objectives and strategies (tapping into a bit of my primitive knowledge regarding management there, heh!).
For example, a mother whose vision is to just enable her children to be able to properly recite the Arabic text of the Qur’an without understanding it, will anxiously await the day when they finally “finish” one such reading of the whole Qur’an, so that she can throw a huge party to announce the happy milestone to her friends and family members.
That day of celebration, to her, will mark the achievement of her “Qur’an vision” for her children, and from that day onwards, she might not even place a lot of stress on their picking up the Qur’an to recite it on a regular basis, or to study its translation or tafsir under a scholar.
This is because, since her vision for her children was limited to their just being able to recite the Qur’an, she will not go beyond that once it has turned to reality.
To Conclude: Parents, Act Now!
My dear readers, this is the case with many, many South Asian Muslim adults you see around you. The teachers at your children’s schools. The doctors at the hospital you visit when you are sick. The drivers of the vehicles on the roads. The shopkeepers. The engineers working on buildings, roads, factories and production plants. The CEO’s and managers employed by the big multinationals. The SHM’s (stay at home mothers).
These people, although they love the Qur’an and have learned how to recite it during their childhoods, are barely able to take out time during the day to recite it out loud, with (at least) 90% correct tajweed, as adults, preferring to read it silently in a corner.
Except when there is a “special” reason to give more time to the Qur’an, such as attaining a worldly blessing, or allaying/averting a distressing calamity from their lives…..that is when the Qur’an suddenly starts to come out (of its shelf) more frequently, and is connected to with greater fervor than usual.
And although many adult Muslims read the Qur’an silently on a daily basis, most of them do not understand a word they are reading.
Do you want (any of) your children to become like them once they grow up?
This article was first published on sadaffarooqi.com and it’s republished here after the kind permission of the author.