How I do hifdh with three kids under five

I’ve been doing hifdh (memorization of the Qur’an) since February 2015, a month before Merry was born. A lot of people have asked for advice on how to manage hifdh along with children. I don’t really have the answer. Two years later, I still struggle to do my lesson and revision. But I can share what has worked for me, and hope that it works for you as well.

Hifdh

I call my hifdh teacher at a specific time for a ten minute lesson each weekday. I recite to her the last few pages I memorized, and then she gives me a new lesson to memorize.

As an auditory learner, the fastest way for me to memorize my lesson is to recite it three times right after class, and then I actually memorize it at night after the kids are in bed. Reciting it three times gets the sound of it in my head, so that when I attempt to read without looking, it’s already partly memorized.

Before I sleep, I memorize the lesson until I can read it without looking once. Then I stop, even if I forget it all immediately after.

When I wake up in the morning, I again read the new lesson to myself without looking. This time, I make sure I can read it five times in a row without mistakes. This ensures it’s thoroughly memorized and I don’t forget it easily.

I also try to recite it throughout the day whenever I remember — when nursing the baby, when preparing meals and snacks, when I’m washing dishes, etc. The more times you recite it, the stronger the memorization will be. With this method, there is minimal time spent memorizing from the mushaf, and more time reviewing from memory. You can review from memory wherever you are, so this is ideal with kids.

I also like to visually see my hifdh progress so I use qurantracker.com to see my memorization in chart form. I like seeing the green boxes take over the screen; it’s motivating and feels like I’m winning some sort of game against myself.

Revision

Revision is a whole other ballgame. I try to revise at least a page a day on weekdays, and two pages a day on weekends. Ideally, it should be a lot more, but this is all I have time for right now. My memorization of some ajzaa’ are stronger than others, so I revise more when it’s easy and less when it’s hard. Revision is also from memory so it can be done anytime you have a spare moment, or even during salah.

In Ramadan, the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to revise the entire Qur’an with the angel Jibreel. We try to do the same. To be honest, it’s very hard. But what worth having isn’t difficult? The revision I’ve done during Ramadan is some of my strongest revision, since I’m forced to keep more Qur’an fresh in memory at once, rather than only a page or two at a time. My only tip here is not to be afraid to challenge yourself. It’s hard, but Allah doesn’t burden a person with more than they can bear. You can accomplish so much more than you realize.

Balancing hifdh with kids

Ah, the greatest obstacle of all. How to give the kids what they need, while also giving yourself what you need.

Pippin's cake celebrating her first steps in hifdh

My first tip is to involve them. Pippin has watched me from the beginning of my hifdh journey and has listened in on many of my classes. On some days, she’s really excited to start doing classes herself. She memorized Surah al-Ikhlaas last winter and we had a Qur’an party to encourage her. Doing things like this make the kids feel more involved, and they start to understand what kind of goal we’re working towards. Pippin once asked me how many surahs I’ve memorized and her mind was blown when she tried to do the mental math of how many Surah al-Ikhlaases she needs to memorize to catch up. But she said that one day she’ll finish the whole Qur’an and I have no doubt that, with her sponge-like memory, she might manage to do it before I do.

On other days, however, none of my kids have any interest in hifdh at all. In fact, most days, as soon as they see me pick up my phone to call my teacher, Merry starts screaming, “noooooo!!! No Qur’an!!! No class!!! Pick me up!!!” Of course, this wakes up Frodo, and then I have to go upstairs to check on her, and then Pippin says, “hey, why is everyone else getting all the attention? Let me do some screaming, too.” And so on. My teacher has heard her fair share of screaming kids from my end of the call. It’s not fun. But they reap the benefits in the long run.

So, my second tip is to not worry about the kids. Let the Qur’an enter your heart, and let it change you from the inside. Let it teach you patience, mercy, and forgiveness. Then let those lessons radiate from you towards your children.

I firmly believe that the Qur’an doesn’t need us to memorize it, rather, we need to memorize the Qur’an. Our children need parents who are connected to the Qur’an. If we want to bring balance to our life, to know what the important parts of life are and what are just distractions and clutter, to learn how to raise our children with all they deserve from us, we need the Qur’an. If we keep that in mind, nothing can slow us down, inshaAllah.

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