If you see anyone drinking tea, and you ask him what he is drinking, he will tell you “tea.” There is sugar in the tea, but he will not mention the sugar, no one ever says he is drinking tea-and-sugar. No doubt the sweetness of the sugar fills the tea, but the person drinks and says nothing about it.
The long standing tradition of Qur’anic memorization is analogous to the sugar, doing its work in secret. In a child who embarks on the journey of memorizing Qur’an we see that the hands, nose, ears, eyes, and tongue are dynamic, but no one can see what the soul is accomplishing. Their ears come across as listening, and their tongues seems to be talking. But no matter what it may seem to be, it is not only the tongue that talks. And in spite of form, it is not only the ears that hear. That which speaks and hears is the invisible soul within. The effect of the long standing tradition of Qur’anic memorization on a child is similarly invisible.
And this is what happens to a child when he memorizes the words of Allah, the Exalted. We might think they are just memorizing words. But in actuality, every letter they say, every sound they make, makes an imprint in their hearts and minds which enables them to take the imitated step of converting his oral recognition of Qur’anic language into a physical act.
The best education we can give our children is the memorization of the Holy Qur’an. As Rasulullah (saw) said:
“No group of people gathers in one of the houses of Allah to recite the Book of Allah and study it together, but tranquility descends upon them, the angels surround them, mercy comes down upon them, and Allah mentions them to those who are with Him.” (Muslim).
The first group of students I ever taught was a group of 9 year-olds in a Hafidh Program in 1998. I was merely their English teacher. As each day passed by, I saw little beings change from being passive to being connected. I witnessed what seemed at the time insignificant moments of sharing between classmates evolve into brotherhood. I saw the honor of one being defended by all, and I saw the grief of a few being shared by many. They finished the school year with highest class percentage of 98% in all subjects, and to this day continue to excel academically. This is rare to find in America today. There was nothing magical in it. They were revolutionized because they entrusted their time with Allah, by the memorization of the Holy Qur’an, the words of Allah, the Exalted.
The vessels for preservation of Islam are in our children’s hearts. Allah says:
“Nay, but they, the clear ayat, are preserved in the breasts of those who have been given knowledge…” [Qur’an 29:49]
It is our duty to plant these seeds in our children for we must equip them for what lay ahead of them. There is no better time to preserve our heritage than today, in these critical times.
As there are numerous full-time schools sprouting in the west, it is time that we as parents invest our children’s time memorizing the Qur’an and join the ranks of thousands who seek to earn the pleasure of Allah (azza wajal) and preserve the very foundation of our Islamic identity. Yes! It’s better than a doctorate degree from Harvard as we are reminded by the words of the Prophet (saw) about its reward:
Buraydah (r) said: “I was sitting with the Prophet (saw) and I heard him say: ..The Qur’an will meet its companion on the Day of Resurrection when his grave is opened for him, looking like a pale man, and it will say to him, ‘Do you know who I am?’ He will say, I do not know you.’ It will say to him, ‘Do you know who I am?’ He will say, I do not know you.’ It will say, ‘I am your companion the Qur’an, who made you thirsty on hot days and kept you awake at night. Every merchant will benefit from his trade, and today you will benefit too.’ He will be given power in his right hand and immortality in his left, and on his head will be placed a crown of dignity. His parents will be given two garments the like of which could never be made by the people of this world and they will say, ‘How did we earn these?’ It will be said, ‘Because your child learned the Qur’an.’ Then it will be said to him, ‘Read and go up through the levels and rooms of Paradise. He will keep on ascending as long as he reads or recites.'” (Ahmad).