“The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion.” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 185]
This ayah encompasses what the Qur’an is really for: proof and guidance. Once we believe in Allah and the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), we look to the Qur’an and sunnah for guidance on how to maximize our good deeds and gain the pleasure of our Creator.
Now think about it: when you want to get close to a person, you try to be there as often as possible to spend quality time with them. You will ensure you catch on to every word they say in order to understand what they are conveying. This example does not do justice as our relationship with Allah
is incomparable to that which we have with other human beings; however, when we seek to be close to Him we should focus on spending quality time as often as possible with His Book.
In Ramadan, many of us attempt to do just that. We start Ramadan full of energy and eagerness to remove distractions so we can give our undivided attention to developing our faith and understanding. Some people struggle to find this excitement because they have no idea where to start. Even those who start off zealous see a decline in this enthusiasm as the days go by.
First thing to do about this: you must remember to consistently ask Allah
to guide your mind and heart to have a pure understanding of His Words. Equally, it is vital to check and renew your intentions for reading, memorizing and pondering over the Qur’an.
“The deeds are considered by the intentions, and a person will get the reward according to his intention.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
This famous hadith is one that provides comfort to those who struggle to grasp the language and/or skill of reciting and understanding of the Qur’an. In sha Allah, with sincere intentions, Allah
will help you succeed in your goals and reward you abundantly for them.
When thinking about how we should approach the Qur’an in Ramadan, there are three main areas to focus on: reciting, memorizing and reflecting/internalizing. In this article, we will provide four practical tips to practice in Ramadan under each of these categories.
1. Set goals and make a schedule
Everyone’s lives are different; some are full-time employees while others are students or stay-at-home parents. Regardless of your circumstances, you should not fall into despair at the idea of “lack of time” to recite the Qur’an. The quality of the time you spend with the Qur’an is far more important than the quantity. That being said, ensure you formulate a schedule that is suitable for what you are occupied with during Ramadan. Have it written down in your diary. Base this around your goals; do you want to complete the entire Qur’an once? Or more? Do you want to focus more on perfecting your tajweed than reciting long portions? Whatever the case may be, having a written plan will help ensure you regularly review and hit these goals, In sha Allah.
2. Be regular
We must be realistic with how much we are able to complete or do, given our own circumstances. However, it is important to remember the following statement:
The Prophet(pbuh) was asked, “What deeds are loved most by Allah?” He said, “The most regular constant deeds even though they may be few.” He added, ‘Don’t take upon yourselves, except the deeds which are within your ability.” [Bukhari]
So, be regular in your recitation, even if it is 10 minutes (or 1-2 pages) a day. This will ensure you are making time for the Qur’an on a daily basis, rather than just when you feel you have an hour to spare. The regular 10 minutes can make a tremendous difference to your recitation abilities, understanding of the Qur’an and general spiritual well-being. Having a set amount per day will help you steadily reach your goal. There are apps available to remind you to recite and do other good deeds during this blessed month. This will also help you develop a habit of reciting daily that will continue after Ramadan, In sha Allah.
3. Buddy up
If you are not used to reciting regularly or feel you will not stick to your goals and schedule, find a buddy. Having someone else to recite with has many benefits. Not only are you helping each other regularly gain the reward of remembering Allah, you are also able to help one another with recitation and other goals. This is also a great way to spend time with someone else during Ramadan, doing something that will increase your rewards in this world and the next, In sha Allah.
4. Find a quiet place
When reciting, try to find somewhere quiet. When you are in a place that is too disruptive to focus on your reading, you are less likely to benefit. Respect the time you have with the Qur’an and remove yourself from anything that will distract you or make it difficult for your recitation sitting. When you recite the Qur’an, make your recitation as beautiful as you can, because the Prophet(pbuh) said:
“Make your voices beautiful when you recite Quran.” [Nasa’i]
1. Make dua
In order to attain any aspiration, we must seek guidance and assistance of Allah
as everything is granted by His will alone. When it comes to memorizing portions of the Qur’an, a great deal of patience and self-discipline is required. It also requires you to remain modest and humble with your achievements. All of these qualities are what we should continuously ask Allah to help us develop and maintain. It is by His will that we are able to commit His words to memory, so always remember to turn to Him when things are difficult or not going the way you planned. In sha Allah, with this in mind, you will grow tremendously and attain your Qur’an memorization goals.
2. Set a steady pace
Whether you plan to memorize the entire Qur’an or just one surah, be sure to have a calm and structured pace to completing the memorization. Often, we begin full of energy and try to sprint to the end. Rather, we should treat our journey with the Qur’an like a marathon where we want our energy to be constant over a long period of time. In other words, we don’t want to burn ourselves out half way through memorizing a particular surah or portion of the Qur’an. Have a steady approach and don’t push yourself too quickly.
3. Listen to reciters repeatedly
Frequently hearing the Qur’an plays a significant role in committing it to memory. Find reciters who have a clear tone and recite at a slow to moderate speed so that you can hear the correct pronunciation to help you with your memorization goals. There are apps and online resources available where you can choose to listen to certain ayaat in order to focus your memorization. The more often you hear the words, the more likely they are to stick in your memory, In sha Allah.
4. Dedicate time to revision
Be sure to leave adequate time to recall and revise ayaat and surahs you have previously memorized. While it is great to move ahead and memorize more of the Qur’an, this should not be done at the expense of forgetting what you have already committed to memory. Be regular in your revision, be it 10-15 minutes a day or a whole day outside of your memorization timetable. Additionally, regularly recite the various surahs you know by heart in salah or in the car or while you cook or do chores, for example, varying between them as this is a beneficial way to keep them fresh in your mind, In sha Allah.
Reflecting and internalizing
1. Read translation and tafsir
While the rewards are immense for reciting the Qur’an, we need to ensure we understand what we have read. After all, the Qur’an was not sent merely to be recited, but to be a guidance for mankind.
It was reported by Abdullah Ibn Masud regarding the salaf: “When a man amongst us learned ten verses [of the Qur’an], he would not move on [to the next verses] until he had understood their meanings and how to act by them.” [Al-Tabari]
This Ramadan make sure you leave time to read the translation and tafsir of the portion you have recited. Ideally, if this is done during or straight after reciting, you will be able to reflect upon and internalize what you have just read. This also helps you develop a better relationship with the Qur’an as you are fully aware of what it is that you have read. Give equal importance to reading texts, such as Ibn Kathir’s tafsir (or any other authentic tafsir or commentary you find easy or prefer) as you are reciting.
2. Record your reflections
Make it a habit to spend some time thinking about the lessons you have learnt from the surahs you read each day. Make a list of them so you are able to look back over them as the days pass. Even if it is something that you have read and understood previously, refreshing your mind about lessons presented in the Qur’an is a good way to ensure you are retaining the details.
3. Make changes
Following on from reflection, after reading and understanding lessons from the Qur’an it is highly important to think of ways we can implement what we have learnt of the Qur’an, as that is the ultimate purpose of it being revealed. Taking the list described above, it is a good idea to jot down how you can make active changes in your life as a result of this. For example, if you have read verses about backbiting, think of ways you can avoid being involved in such situations. Be proactive and determined to apply the Qur’an into your life. Develop your character based on the Qur’an.
Always remember the words of A’ishah
when she was asked about the Prophet’s(pbuh) character:
“Do you not recite the Qura’n? The character of the Messenger of Allah
was the Qur’an.” [Abu Dawud]
4. Make dua
There are many different lessons that we will come across when studying the Qur’an. Some may appear simple and straightforward for us to comprehend, while others may require us to ponder over them for some time. Ask Allah to help you improve your understanding and succeed in being active in changing your life based on lessons you learn from the Qur’an. It cannot be stressed enough the importance of turning to Allah to help you succeed in this quest to strengthen your iman and character through studying the Qur’an.
Our blessed Prophet(pbuh) taught Ali ibn Abi Talib some magnificent words of dua that express what many of us wish to ask Allah for. So, remember these words and make dua to Allah with them throughout your precious journey with the Qur’an. The Prophet(pbuh) asked Ali to supplicate:
“O Allah, Originator of the heavens and the earth, Possessor of glory, and generosity, and honor that is not exceeded. I ask you, O Allah, O Rahman, by Your glory and the light of Your Face, to make my heart constant in remembering Your Book as You taught me, and grant me that I recite it in the manner that will make You pleased with me. O Allah, Originator of the heavens and the earth, Possessor of glory, and generosity, and honor that is not exceeded. I ask you, O Allah, O Rahman, by Your glory and the light of Your Face, to enlighten my sight with Your Book, and make my tongue free with it, and to relieve my heart with it, and to expand my chest with it, and to wash my body with it. For indeed, none aids me upon the truth other than You, and none gives it except You, and there is no might or power except by Allah, the High, the Magnificent.” [at-Tirmidhi]
May this Ramadan be one in which our hearts absorb the teachings of the Qur’an and our limbs act upon it. May the Qur’an become a fixed constant in our life as our primary source of strength and guidance, In sha Allah.