Not many people know this, but although I did not endorse stopping memorization during Ramadan, I put my own memorization on halt during the last ten nights.
[an uproar occurs on wordpress]
I had tried to keep up with my memorization homework, but it was much easier said than done. I recall one night, between ishaa and fajr, sitting slumped on the floor, leaning against a chair, and reciting in a barely audible voice. I felt very low on energy. Memorizing during Ramadan was much different than memorizing outside of Ramadan. But I kept going, because I couldn’t bring myself to tell my teacher that I wanted to take a break.
A part of it was because of how difficult it was for me to finally find a new teacher since my old one had left a few months back. I wasn’t just going to let this new one go because of a “lack of energy.” I would travel to her for every appointment. I would recite and ignore the embarrassing cracking in my voice, a mixture of shyness and dehydration. I could tell she was trying to politely ignore it, but it was so bad that I doubted at one point if she even could understand what I was reciting.
But I was finding it all quite difficult and I would remember my own advice: if it is hindering you from completing Qur’an, or in another way, then it is better to pause or to slow it down. My particular method of memorization does not actually give too much room for “slowing down,” (but I could have easily shifted methods, I just really preferred my own). So I ended up calling her one day, to ask for a break, really feeling like I over-estimated what I could handle. In retrospect, I should’ve given more serious thought to memorizing smaller portions, but I felt it was better to just pause and focus on the last ten nights, complete as much recitation of Qur’an as I could, and then give memorizatoin my ‘all’ outside of Ramadan, inshaa’Allah.
I called her in the afternoon, and after exchanging our salams, I went into explaining what was going on for me and how difficult it had been, and how it was not normal for me to be making so many mistakes in recitation, and so on and so on. It would be safe to say that I was rambling.
Although my teacher’s English is good, it is not her first language, and my rambling probably caught her off-guard. She patiently waited for me to finish, and then kindly informed me that she had no idea what I just said.
“Hold on,” I said.
I quickly went into my contacts list in my phone and began looking for Arab friends of mine. No one was picking up.
Finally, a sister picked up. I quickly explained to her that I wanted her to translate, and then I joined the two calls.
My friend: Fatima is saying that she is finding it difficult to memorize Qur’an, and she would like some help.
Me: Don’t say that! I want to take a break during the last ten days.
My friend: She would like to continue after Ramadan.
My teacher was fine with it, and other than a couple of text messages that I sent to her, I did not get into contact with her until I was ready to return. I had a feeling she was used to people taking “breaks” and never coming back, so I made sure she understood that I was definitely coming back, inshaa’Allah.
Now here I am, trying to pick up the pieces after my “break.” I still felt that I needed it, but it is never easy to just halt memorization completely and then to return to that wonderful routine and be steadfast in it, especially now that my classes at the University have begun.
I’m learning that it is okay to take things slow, as long as you are consistent in it. I was accustomed to memorizing larger amounts than what my teacher was giving me, and I did not hold back from complaining [politely…okay, there was a little whining involved too]. But she calmly explained to me: “A little that you are consistent with is better than doing a lot and then you stop.”
So naturally, I hung my head in shame and agreed.
It will take time, but I am determined and I know that this task that I have in front of me is one that is miraculously easy, so I’m not afraid, and I’m not worried. And come next Ramadan, if Allah swt allows me to reach it, I will try even harder and I will push myself even more, inshaa’Allah.
I am trying to build better and different habits, trying new techniques and experimenting with what works best.
And in regard to setbacks in the process of hifdh, I think all of us have them. Some setbacks will be bigger than others. What distinguishes one person from another is how they respond. Do you let it throw you off course until you can’t imagine going back? Or are you willing to swim against the tide for a little bit, certain that you will surely reach your destination?
You know, everyone has their “tips for memorizing,” although they are all basically saying the same thing.
One of those things that I have noticed that is oft-repeated, in different ways is:
Consistency is key.
(May Allah swt grant us all tawfique. Ameen)