Hifz: Interview with an O-level Student
After completing Grade 9, Ali Izzath went on a glorious spiritual break. Taking the bold step of discontinuing his academic studies despite of the fact that his school allows him to sit for O level exams in Grade 10, he opted to undertake the noble mission of learning the Qur’an by heart. He finished memorising the complete Qur’an in just eleven months! An enviable achievement! He came back to school to continue his studies in Grade 10.
Muqeet, this blogger, who is also his Islamic Studies teacher, spoke to Ali Izzath about his mission and achievement.
* Grade 10 is so important in terms of academics. What prompted you to take a break from it and opt for the full time memorization of the Qur’an?
A: It was a tough decision. On one side was the important academic year – grade 10 and on the other side was the ‘maybe never-again’ opportunity of memorizing the Qur’an. This discussion went on in our family for many days. Qur’an is the most important book for all mankind which contains the right guidance for us. I had always wanted to memorize the Qur’an and I felt it was a privilege to do it. I did not wish to brush away this Allah-given opportunity. I knew very well that this opportunity will not come knocking on me again. I felt that for my academic studies, Allah is always around to help. My parents asked my brother and me to finally decide. I and my brother, Musa, went into a room and discussed the matter for some more time. We came out with a resolution to go for Hifz was made. My parents were very happy and proud of our decision.
* Any specific motivation?
A: My uncle, Mr. Abdul Ahad, had also discontinued his academic education when he was in Grade 6 to memorise the Qur’an. After completing Hifz in one and a half years, he joined the school back. He not only completed his education in flying colours, but also managed to get through the competitive selection of Indian Administrative Services. He attributed this success to Hifz and always felt that once a person memorizes the Qur’an, other subjects become very easy for him. Now he is a top cop in the Police department. He was a motivation for me. I thought that if he could do it, why couldn’t I?
* Why do you think that the Qur’an is important to be memorized?
A: As I said earlier, Qur’an is the most important book for us. We are ready to spend months and years to study so many books and writings of ordinary mortals like us. How can we then ignore the Qur’an which is the speech of Allah, a direct communication from our Creator? Isn’t it our duty to take enough time to learn the Qur’an and if possible memorize it? As a bonus, a Hafiz has been promised a very high place in Paradise.
* In which madrasa (Qur’an School) you completed the memorization of the Qur’an?
A: Abdullah bin Mas’ood Qur’an Kareem Centre in Sharjah
* What was your feeling on the first day of admission to the Qur’an School?
A: I was nervous of course. The system there was totally different from the schools I had attended. But I had a wonderful teacher, Ustadh Shabbir, who made me very comfortable. He encouraged me and soon I was happy to be there.
* What method did you adopt to complete the memorization process?
A: First we memorize each Juz in parts, then after a Juz is completed we revise it several times and then we need to pass the test before we proceed to the next Juz. (Qur’an is divided into 30 parts, each part is called as Juz in Arabic)
* Tell us about the timings and how you scheduled your programme.
A: We had a tight schedule: from 7.00 am to Isha prayers with a break between Zuhr and Asr prayers.
* Any specific difficulty you encountered in the process of learning?
A: In the beginning, I used to feel very tired, but soon Allah helped me out of it.
* Before joining the Qur’an School, how many chapters you had already memorized?
A: The last Juz (37 Surahs) and Surah Fathiha.
* How many months did you take to complete the full memorization of the Qur’an?
A: Eleven months.
* That’s great. That means memorization of the Qur’an is not a difficult task, right?
A: Right! But only if you have the proper intention, focus, and interest. Most important of all is our du’aa – supplicating and asking Allah to help us in the task.
* What was your parents’ reaction after you completed the memorization of the Qur’an?
A: My parents always monitored my progress on daily basis. As I drew closer to completion, I felt that it was their heart which was beating faster with excitement. They were thrilled and proud to have a crown on their head as reward from Allah in Paradise.
* Memorization of Qur’anic chapters, were they done in ascending order or descending order, which is from Chapter 1, 2…..114 or from chapter 114, 113…..1?
A: It was done in descending order
* But the Qur’an should be read in ascending order, right?
A: Yes, Qur’an is read in ascending order.
* After memorization, do you find any difficulty in recalling or revising the chapters in ascending order?
A: No. When we memorize the Qur’an, we memorize it chapter by chapter and we don’t find any problem in recalling it in the proper order.
* How it feels to be a Hafiz?
A: A Hafiz is a person who protects the Qur’an in his heart. But, after memorizing the Qur’an I have a feeling that Allah is protecting me. I feel safe – safe, because I have been promised Paradise. I am also happy that Allah is pleased with me. Who else deserves to be pleased more than Allah, the Almighty Lord?
* You are in Grade 10 now and your former classmates are in Grade 11. How do you look at this gap?
A: I do not feel any remorse as I think I like my new class better.
* How are you adjusting your school study time and the time to recall and keep in touch with the Qur’an?
A: I am still going to the Qur’an Centre in the evening shift between Asr and Isha prayers. (i.e. evening and night prayers)
* What message do you want to give to your friends and contemporaries?
A: Hifz is not an unachievable task provided you work hard and pray to Allah for help. You will enjoy the fruits of hard work in Paradise, Insha’Allah.