In our previous post, we examined the importance of balancing memorization, comprehension, and, application. In this post, we assess the 2nd most overlooked standard on Qur’an memorization: “Presentation.” Here, we will discuss the importance of how the Qur’an should be introduced and presented to your kids.
On presenting the Qur’an to your children, parents must undertake this task with utmost diligence and patience. As you know, the overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world do not know Arabic. Hence, the Qur’an is yet a foreign book to them. Think back to your childhood and your interactions with the Qur’an. Recall your feelings and memories associated with the Qur’an. For myself I felt that the Qur’an was mysterious yet familiar. The endless pages of script that had no images always puzzled me. It was familiar because I would see my parents read from it and tell me stories from it. I still remember the days when my dad would sit us down and tell us the story of Joseph, Adam or Moses. All of these stories conjured up vivid images of how I thought the scenes would have looked liked. Sadly, I also have unpleasant memories of Qur’an school.
Now, bring yourself back and and think about how you want your children to be exposed to the Qur’an. Compare and contrast your childhood memories to what you want your children to experience. How would you present the Qur’an? Would you eagerly recreate your experience and share it with them, or, are you going turn a leaf and show them the Qur’an in your own positive way? Below are a few important tips on how to “present” the Qur’an to your children.
- Exposure – Perhaps the most important question your must ask yourself is, “What is my relationship with the Qur’an?” In other words, how often do you read it? How much of it do you understand? What are you doing to prepare yourself for the questions your children will ask you about it? Are you going to simply reiterate slogans of how important and holy the Qur’an is? If you want your kids to be familiar with the Qur’an, you must interact with the Qur’an. When you are listening to the Qur’an, reading and memorizing it, this will generate curiosity. In turn this will generate appreciation and respect. Instead of listening to music, try to listen to more Qur’an with its translation included.
- Engagement – Whatever you’re reading or studying, without being preachy, find good opportunities to share real life experiences with relevant verses. Actively study what your kids are learning in Qur’an school. Don’t just smile or praise them for memorizing. Learn what they read. Understand what they read. Practice what they read. Have them show you ways how to practice lessons found in the Qur’an. Have your kids note down a couple verses they heard in a lecture and khutbah and discuss how it relates to them. When situations arise, reference verses from the Qur’an to help them gain introspection. A good example is that of patience. See what verses or stories in the Qur’an talk about patience.
- Fair Use – The Qur’an was sent down so that people can love Allah. Its message leads people to good. The Qur’an should not be used as an instrument of punishment or shame. Don’t say, “You’ve been bad! Go read some Qur’an!” Avoid saying, “Since you are grounded, you need to memorize an extra 2 pages.” Don’t deny them of sleep, food or drink as a means to get them to memorize the Quran. Those forms of abuse only make them hate the Qur’an. Don’t let your disappointment become a tool for them dislike the Quran. The Prophet (pbuh) tells us in an authentic hadith, “Don’t support Satan against your brother.” Hitting and shaming are incompatible techniques for teaching the Qur’an. Needless to say, the memorization of Qur’an should not be used as a last effort for those whom we “think” are not on par with academic studies. We must actively remove this evil stigma from our communities. The Qur’an dignifies its reader! Don’t ever use it as a mark of shame!Never associate the failure to memorize Qur’an with physical pain or emotional abuse. One should never hit because a student or child made a mistake in recitation. Address the real issues. These can include: not being careful enough during reading, lack of focus in fixing persistent mistakes, or playing around while reading. These need to be addressed. You can discipline for those issues without the use of force and abuse. Find out why is your child still making the same mistake at this verse. Help them find techniques and solutions. Develop mnemonics or word associations to help them solve the problem.