The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The best among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” [Bukhari]
1) Start with yourself
“To be honest, the biggest tip would be to learn the tajweed yourself if you don’t already know it. This is crucial if you want to get involved with teaching Qur’an to your children. I had re-learnt Qur’an with tajweed a short time before Maariya began her Qa’eda stage. This proved priceless for our hifdh journey to have been successful alhamdulillah. I wouldn’t have had a clue otherwise.” says Shabnam.
“We were advised to listen to Sheikh Husary first, but to be honest, we both preferred Sheikh Mishary Rashid! Maariya would listen to Juz Amma at bedtime and in the car.” says Shabnam. We usually underestimate kids on how they absorb everything they listen to. Hence try to keep them in such environment as much as possible. You will find yourself memorizing the surahs as well this way. Playing Quran recitation around the home may help them memorize unconsciously sometimes as well – especially if they are aural learners and you know your child best! The more time you spend with them, the more you’ll be able to get to know them
Some kids are aural learners. They learn best when they listen. Some children are visual learners so they learn best when they see. Young kids (especially) are kinaesthetic learners hence they learn best when they practically do things. While some kids are mixture of 2 or all styles. If you are finding it hard to get them to memorize through oral practice, try doing tafsir with them to see if they can memorize better when they know WHAT they are memorizing. Memorization of Quran isn’t a necessity (not all sahaabas were huffadh), but understanding Quran is – so doing translation/tafsir with them will help them bond with their Lord better which will eventually help them stay motivated to memorize in shaa Allah. Also, it will help them not mix the similar verses together because as they progress, it will get complicated.
Tips for AURAL learners: You can let them play quietly or do some colouring while the Quran is played in the background. Aural learners are the best because they can learn passively as well. Repeat the verses yourself as well when you lie down with them at night – to put them to sleep. That’s the time when they are least distracted. You can also take the help of audio recitation if you don’t know the verses yourself. You may also try this hifdh audio session with Asma Huda (unfortunately only for juz 30 – but it’s a good start). (some instructional clues are in urdu, but one can do it without knowing urdu as well).
Tips for VISUAL learners: Try to encourage kids to write the verses that they are trying to memorize (you will also be able to add some copywork in like this). When they are reciting the Quran, ask them to put their finger on the verses they are reciting. Keep the same Quran throughout their memorization journey so they can form a picture memory of it (usually people use 15 liner Quran for hifdh). Wrap their Quran in pretty colours so they can truly call it their own. My 6 year old wrapped her Quran in pink and purple wrapping sheet (but it didn’t stay in place for long), so getting a pink Quran with pink pages helped. You can also look into a Rainbow Quran.
Tips for KINESTHETIC learners: You can use signs and gestures to convey the message better along with explaining them through translation and simple tafseer. For eg: while reciting chapter 93 – Surah Duha (as seen in the above video), my 4yr old does a thumbs up sign 👍 for *fatardaa* (satisfied) & whenever “laa” (no) comes, she moves her finger ☝ (See the video for better perspective on this). Prophet (ﷺ) used to take help of gestures to explain the ahadith better. For eg in THIS hadith (in Bukhari) “A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other.” The Prophet (ﷺ) then clasped his hands with the fingers interlaced (while saying that).
3) Start early if possible
Many people ask: “What age do we start teaching kids Quran?” You know your child best and you can try as early as 2 even. An innocent heart free of a lot of sins can absorb khair in them much better. Some kids learn to speak early while some take time. But whatever age or stage they are at, nurturing love for Allah as a foundation can really help you get things rolling. Depending on the child’s ability and your effort, it may take 2-10 years to completely memorize the Quran.
“Maariya was turning 5 when she started her Qa’eda stage. She had just started reception at a ‘normal’ school. Maariya duly started the short Surahs of Juz Amma at the Arabic School. I was happy to get Maariya ready so a qualified teacher can ensure her correct tajweed and makhaarij. Maariya finished her Juz Amma in about 2 months without any real push. I realized then that we should think about her hifdh more seriously. At this stage, I decided to teach her myself and try for Hifdh” says Shabnam.
You may start from the start as well – 1st juzz instead of 30th juzz (amma para). Please make sure you have age-appropriate expectations from your children to avoid constant frustration. Also know that each child is different so what works for one may not work for another one, but also remember that it’s never too late to start. I have seen women as old as 80 memorizing the Quran so read the inspirational stories to stay motivated yourself too.
4) Get involved as much as you can
5) Repeat / Revise as often as you can
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Keep on reciting the Qur’an, for, by Him in Whose Hand my life is, Qur’an runs away (is forgotten) faster than camels that are released from their tying ropes.” [Bukhari]
6) Remove distractions that take up the mind space
Remember the advice by Ibn al Qayyam – for a better memory, do istighfar.
If your child is having a hard time giving up distractions, keep them encouraged with the WHYs! Like narrating them the following hadith:
“Prophet (ﷺ) said: “It shall be said – meaning to the one who memorized the Qur’an – ‘Recite, and rise up, recite (melodiously) as you would recite in the world. For indeed your rank shall be at the last Ayah you recited.’” [Tirmidhi]
7) Keep a Quran log and you may reward your child when they may need extra encouragement
“From the very start, I used to make a note of what we did on a daily basis. I would write which ayahs we covered. The main reason was to log the mistakes that were made. It is crucial that they are revisited the next day to ensure the same mistakes aren’t made again. The early stage was a lot easier to retain because it was a manageable amount.” says Shabnam.
If your child is finding it hard to start, try the reward system. It specially works well with younger children who may not understand why this is important. For eg: if you are starting at the age of 3, giving them gifts on each milestone can help them keep going.
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “If Allah loves a person, He calls Gabriel, saying, ‘Allah loves so and so, O Gabriel love him’ So Gabriel would love him and then would make an announcement in the Heavens: ‘Allah has loved so and-so therefore you should love him also.’ So all the dwellers of the Heavens would love him, and then he is granted the pleasure of the people on the earth.” [Bukhari]
8) Organize better so you get uninterrupted time with your child
“Maariya has a younger sister, Sara, and a younger brother Yusuf too. I just made sure all necessary duties were taken care of so I could sit with Maariya without any interruptions.” says Shabnam.
The best time to do this is usually the first thing after breakfast when kids’ mind and energy levels are at their peak. (If they can get up for Fajr happily, then that time is full of barakah – but don’t force them of course. After all, they are only kids who will thrive the best in a loving environment). If you can start at tahajjud time, even better.
Whichever schedule you choose, you must stick to it, and only rarely for special cases should you move it around. If you are not concerned about the time it will take them to complete hifdh, then you can mold your schedule accordingly.
9) Create a learning environment and make Qur’an relatable/ understandable
“Throughout our Qur’an learning, we sat in a quiet room for Hifdh or revision. We never sat where there were other people to distract us or the television blasting! I think this was the key. We had a designated, comfortable and quiet area to memorize and practice. Even other kids knew it was ‘Reading Time’.” says Shabnam.
You can tell a story of what’s actually happening in the Surah. Discuss how these verses were revealed. Share a lesson on how these ayahs apply in our daily lives. You know what that means right? You have to do some learning yourself first. Because that will be the best way your child gets exposure to such knowledge.
10) Consistency and routine is the key to success so keep making dua
“Give them a platform: one of the best and most effective ways to learn is to teach. Let them take the platform once in a while to teach you, the family, or younger kids about something they learned. It can be something simple around dinner time or it can be something more prepared like a halaqa at the masjid. Empower your children, listen to them, and trust them. They will surprise you.” says Shabnam.
Don’t give up on them and don’t let them give up on themselves. They can do it and so can you! In shaa Allah! Your growth mindset will help them grow too (in shaa Allah we will talk about mindsets from an Islamic perspective soon). Your role in this journey is a VERY important one because YOU are going to set goals for your child. YOU are going to make them your own goals.